Do tummy tuck scars have to be from side to side? (photo)

If I have a minor case can the scar be adjusted and not be as long or high? Are there any other treatments like lasers, regiments? My plastic surgeon told me that my skin will shrink back by sometime next year but my ob looked at it and said "most don't go back" so I'm assuming shes saying mine won't either. My plastic surgeon also said that I have a hernia under my navel (it makes it poke out) so I was wondering if when he takes it out could he revise the navel skin and trim off the excess?

Doctor Answers 10

Do tummy tuck scars have to be from side to side? (photo)

Judging from your photos it seems that you will benefit from a full tummy tuck. Unfortunately there is not way around the length of the scar. I have seen many patients in whom the surgeon tried to limit the scar and as a result they developed secondary bulges on the sides which had to be removed secondarily lengthening the scar to what it should have been originally. So, there are no short-cuts. It has to be done the right way from the start.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Tummy tuck scar

Hello. Thanks for sharing your photos. Based on your photos, you will benefit from full tummy tuck. When I make the incision/scar for tummy tuck, I tried to make it low (under the bikini line) and short. However, most tummy tuck will have hip to hip incision. You plastic surgeon can tell you how low and long the scar would be. Umbilical (belly button) hernia can be repaired at the same time as tummy tuck by your plastic surgeon. Best wishes!

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Wide incision necessary

You have excess skin above the umbilicus that requires a wide incision. At the same time, the hernia can be repaired. If you are not planning pregnancies I recommend Abdominoplasty with Mesh Reinforcement Ventral Herniorrhaphy. This produces early satiety, weight loss and maintains the reduced weight. There are recent articles published in Plastic Reconstructive Journal describing this technique. Best Wishes, Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 223 reviews

Tummy tuck and hernia repair

I would recommend that you undergo a full tummy tuck and also an umbilical hernia repair by a plastic surgeon at the same time. Most plastic surgeons repair umbilcal hernias.

Dr. Kimberly Henry

Based on what you have described, you need a tummy tuck and it does need to be from side to side. If you are not sure about your plastic surgeon, then get a second opinion. Check out our website, and send us more pictures, we'd love to help! Best of luck!

Kimberly A. Henry, MD
Greenbrae Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Tummy tuck scars

Most tummy tuck scar will go roughly hip to hip. But this depends on how much loose skin you have. the more loose skin, and the tighter you want to be, than the longer the scar. Your skin looseness looks like it is mostly just in the center, around your belly button. You might be able to make this better with non-surgeical tightening with the Viora Reaction. It wouldn't be as tight as with a tummy tuck but you wouldn't have any scars.

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Do I need a full abdominoplasty

Thank you for your question. I would feel that a full examination of your abdomen would answer many of the important questions, but I would believe that a full abdominoplasty may be needed. The scar length has to do with how loose the skin is, and often the scar is needed to be longer to excise much of the skin laxity along the lateral side of the abdomen. If in fact you have an abdominal hernia this can be fixed at the same time.

It is difficult to be completely accurate in our on line opinions. Always rely on the opinions of a local Plastic Surgeon, and be sure that the Plastic Surgeon performs many tummy tucks monthly in his or her practice.

Good luck to you.

Frank Rieger M.D. Tampa Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck scars…How Long do they have to be??


The length of the scar is determined by how much skin needs to be removed. The more skin that needs to be removed, the longer the scar. An added advantage of a wider scar in your situation is that you may be able to remove more of your stretch marks. You are correct in that when your plastic surgeon does the tummy tuck, a revision of the area around your belly button can be performed at the same time.

Michael Kulick, MD, DDS
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

A full Tummy Tuck may be required for you.

Thank you for your question and photos. From your photographs it appears that you may need a full abdominoplasty to tighten the abdomen and improve the belly button. I would recommend that you consult a plastic surgeon who will have a general surgeon performed the hernia repair at the same operation at the plastic surgeon does your Tummy Tuck.The incisions for your Tummy Tuck would be best from side to side as a vertical scar will be much more noticeable.

Abdominoplasty Techniques

My general philosophy on plastic surgery is that one size does not fit all. I often will tailor procedures based on the patient's biggest complaint and on their treatment goals. Pregnancy causes a wide variety of effects on the female abdomen: some (lucky) women revert to their pre-baby tummies, other women develop significant stretch marks and a persistent bulge in the abdomen. There are also women who are somewhere in the middle in terms of these changes.

In general, there are two main options for women who develop changes to the abdomen after childbirth:

  • one is a full abdominoplasty, where the incision is essentially "hip to hip", the entire abdominal wall muscles are tightened (from the ribs down to the pubic bone), and a large portion of excess skin is removed (often, all of the skin from the belly button to the pubic hair line can be taken out).
  • The second option is a mini-abdominoplasty. In this procedure, the scar is still side-to-side, but is limited to just beyond the width of the pubic hair line. Only the lower abdominal muscles are tightened. The belly button is pulled down slightly to tighten its appearance (a small umbilical hernia can be repaired through this approach), and a small amount of stretched skin can be removed (about half of the skin from the pubic hairline to the belly button.

Many women ask if skin can be removed from around the center of the belly button (umbilicus) only. Unfortunately, this is not possible. Making a circular incision around the umbilicus and removing skin from this area alone would result in pleating and irregular scarring.

I generally advise women to wait about 6 months after they have completed child birth and breast feeding before considering plastic surgery. Seek consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon to find out what procedure is right for you.

Adam J. Oppenheimer, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 190 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.