Will Tummy Tuck Scar Disappear Completely?

I have 3 children, one of which I didn't find out I was pregnant with until 6 months into the pregnancy. This caused a lot of stretch marks, so I recently had a tummy tuck. The doctor had to make a vertical incision from my lower scar to my belly button. I am only about a week post op, but it already looks like the vertical scar will not be as noticeable as my lower scar. The physician also says that within 6 months it shouldn't be noticeable. Is this possible or is there anything I can do to help with the scar?

Doctor Answers 23

It depends on the person, surgeon, and luck!

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All incisions leave scars, and thankfully, most incisions when closed properly leave acceptable scars. In the case of an abdominoplasty, you're making a trade... skin and fat gone, but a scar. Usually the scar looks very good - but time and patience is required. There are a lot of components in healing, with genetics being one of the most important... sound surgical technique and minimizing tension on the skin are the other two major factors.

I'm a believer in silicone tape. We provide silicone tape to all our patients at 1 month to use until they are happy with the results of their procedure. When I ran a burn unit, it really seemed silicone was the only thing that made a difference. There are a lot of creams on the market for scar improvement, but I'm not sure there are any sound studies that validate their claims. Your surgeon will most likely have a protocol that he or she has found works for his or her patients.

I hope this helps!

Dr. Kaufman

Scars are Permanent

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Thanks for the question. Scars are permanent. There are some things you can do to improve their healing. First and foremost follow your surgeon's instructions in terms of exercise, wound care, drain care and activity level.

Beyond this Scar Guard and Mederma and silicone tape are over the counter treatments that have been clinically shown to make small differences in scar healing. I hope this helps.

Scars are forever

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Surgical scars will be present forever. But don't despair. In fifteen years of practice I have never had a patient wish they had not done the surgery because of the scar. The trade off is well worth it. There are things you can do to minimize the scar. Talk to your surgeon about what they are and when you can start them. Good luck!

Scar maturation takes time

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Hi- I agree with my colleague that all incisions leave scars- what we are trying to achieve as plastic surgeons is very inconspicuous scars.

Scars will improve with time on their own, through the process of maturation. I also am a believer in silicone tape, and do believe that the average scar will look better at all stages of maturation when this is used than without it. Ask your doctor about his or her preferences.

Tummy tuck scars never disappear completely.

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To Mandy82:

You can expect the scars to fade and become less noticeable over the next 18 months, but they don't disappear.

Laser treatments of the scars in a few months can help.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck Scar

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One of the goals of tummy tuck surgery is to leave patients with scars that are virtually undetectable. It is also important to have scar placement so that scars are less obvious. It is unlikely that your scar will be completely invisible. But it sounds like you are off to a great start. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Tummy tuck scars are permanent

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While the scars from a Tummy Tuck can heal quite nicely, they are definitely permanent! In most cases, Tummy Tuck scars fade quite well over time.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Managing the vertical scar with a tummy tuck

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The vertical scar may blend in nicely with your remaining striae. However, in the meantime, surgeons may vary in their scar managment recommendations. Some encourage the use of silastic sheeting, and while this may help, I find that patients find it difficult and cumbersome and will often abandon its use. Avoiding excessive sun exposure is also important. Other scar creams you may have heard of have limited evidence to strongly support their use.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Tummy tuck scar will heal and fade

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As with any scar, it will heal and fade over time, but will never disappear. There are many over the counter scar creams and gels that will help improve the overall look of the scar that you can purchase from any drug store or pharmacy. Consult your plastic surgeon to determine which product woul be best for your incision and skin type. It may depend on how far out from surgery you are and how the incision is healing. Silicone sheeting is recommended for raised and dark scars. Keep in mind that a scar is usually pink and red for the first few months post surgery, and then fades. Avoid sun exposure on the area by covering the incision as much as possible. Take care.

Scar management after a tummy tuck

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The scars from a tummy tuck are similar to other incisional scars. Initially, the scars are pink and can be a bit raised. As the scar remodels, the color fades and typically the scar flattens. Techniques to hasten this process include silicone sheeting, massage, moisturizers. Hyperpigmentation may be treated with lasers or fading creams. Hypertrophic or prominent scars may respond to steroid injections. All told, it takes at least 1 year before a scar is done remodeling. It is during this time frame that interventions will have the greatest benefit. If these do not help, a scar revision (surgical removal of the scar with hopes the new scar will heal better) is always an option.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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.