Which Is Better For Tummy Tuck Scars, U-shaped or W-shaped?

I am having a Tummy Tuck and noticed in my research that there appear to be two slightly different types of scars: one that is U-shaped, like a smile running from hip-to-hip reaching a low point at the pubis, and one that is more of a W-shape, like the other but rising slightly at the pubis. Is there a difference in the procedure, healing or outcome/final result between these two types of scars? Is one better or easier to perform...? Just curious. Thanks!

Doctor Answers 12

Best Tummy Tuck Scar

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The eventual shape of the scar depends on many factors, including the tension on the tissues and how you heal. I make almost all of my incisions in the form of a ”W.” However, after healing, they usually look more like a “U.” The reason for using the “W” shaped incision is simple. Usually there is a significant amount of tension put on the incision at the pubis. If one makes an incision entirely above the pubic hairline, the pubic hair pulls up onto the abdomen and winds up much higher than desirable. If, however, the incision is made below the hairline equidistant from it, the pubic hair has a very natural appearance post-operatively. In order to do this, the incision is somewhat “W” shaped. Even if you shave the area now, many older women do not. By paying attention to little details like this, the scar looks good now and as you age.

Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck scar

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In general the “U” shape scar seems to work best in regards to concealment in clothing and in natural body creases. There is no difference in the procedure, healing, the final outcome.

Thanks for the question. Good luck!

Scar pattern for abdominoplasty

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I prefer a lower "U" shaped incision.  It is more easily concealed in swimwear and leaves a more pleasing proportions between your pubic hairline and your navel.  Best wishes

Craig Harrison, MD, PA
Tyler Plastic Surgeon

"U" versus "W" scar for a tummy tuck

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My preference which is total consensus with the other plastic surgeon respondents is for a form of a "U" for many reasons. Each patient may have a slightly different configuration of it based on their own unique anatomy. The key is to keep the scar low enough so that it would be as inconspicuous as possible with most clothes.

The "W" scar is a more stylized and not "anatomically correct/precise" approach though good results can be obtained. Neither of these incisions have any effect on the underlying repair.

U or W for Tummy Tuck Scar?

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"U" definitely - at least as far as I'm concerned. I am still not sure of why anyone would use a "W" at all, not that there is anything wrong with it. I prefer to have the bottom part of the u be as low as possible, no more than 7-9 cm below above the junction of the labia. That way you can hopefully wear lower bathing suits. The only issue with this is that you need to have enough extra skin from above the belly button that will reach all the way down. Most women after pregnancy do have enough. When there isn't enough skin to stretch down than you either have to have a small scar in the middle that rises up from the bottom, or position the whole "U" a little higher. Hope this helps.

U-shaped tumy tuck scar is aesthetically better, but W-scar is not "wrong."

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The W-shaped scar was designed to minimize excessive tightness in the suprapubic area, which is the tightest point in a tummy tuck. Since many of us prefer the U-shaped scar and routinely use it in all of our tummy tuck patients, the W-shape is not "necessary," but may be so in the minds of come plastic surgeons who trained with this technique and have developed its use as a habit or routine.

When it fades, either scar is minimally noticeable, but the U-shaped scar is virtually always less so. You have already been checking out before and after photos. Use your own judgment, and ask which your surgeon prefers. I think it's a big enough deal to be one way of selecting a surgeon, since even great surgery and a wonderful result otherwise can be diminished by a scar you "hate" forevermore! But that assumes otherwise equal surgical skill and experience. Best wishes!

W vs U scar for tummy tuck

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The healing is no different with either incision.  Most patients want the lower more concealed U scar.  Donald R. Nunn  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

For Tummy Tucks, I prefer a low "U-Shape" scar

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For tummy tucks I prefer to keep the incision (and the subsequent scar) low and hidden. The scar should be hidden beneath underwear and bathing suits. As fashions have changes, so too have my incisions. Pant and bathing suits are getting lower, and an old fashioned "French Cut" scar that goes high on the hip bone is no longer easily hidden. The "U-Shape" incision keeps the scar low in the middle and in my opinion is easier to hide than a "W-shape" incision that comes up slightly in the middle.  Keep in mind that the scars will be slightly different on each person. I encourage my patients to bring underwear or bathing suits with them that they want to wear so that I can individualize the scar for them.

Scar shape after tummy tuck, U or W

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The shape of the scar can be a matter of a surgeons preference, though we prefer the low U shape which conceals the scar over the pubis, you may still see some W's out there where the scar will come up over the top of the pubis. The W can work for some and is an older technique, though most feel that the low U is aesthetically better.

Best of luck,


Abdominoplasty scar placement is up to you.

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I recommend that the patient bring in a bikini bottom to the office, and I mark the outline of the garment. I then design an incision to be placed inside of these marks, to hide the scar as much as possible. The 'W" scar is more difficult to hide, however I leave the decision up to the patient.

William Loutfy, MD
Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon

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.