The ‘Scary’ Tummy Tuck Scar: 4 Best Removal Methods

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Tummy tuck scars
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While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. -----------------------------------

Plastic surgery is taking the world by storm, and fewer people are afraid of going under the knife to tailor their appearance how they want—everything from liquid nose jobs to silicone gel implants and invasive liposuctions.

Among people who want to get a better appearance for their bodies using cosmetic surgery, the number of people seeking abdominoplasty is steadily increasing. Many patients worry about the effects of the surgery; pain, permanent damage to the bodily blood supply, and of course, scarring.

After all, if someone wants the perfect body for bathing suit season, and they risk their life for a tummy tuck, it’s imperative they wish to avoid or reduce the appearance of scars. Most tummy tuck scars take over 8 months to heal and remain after this period. Most patients say their scars appear less apparent after a few months.

Let’s understand more about tummy tuck scars, how they occur, how to reduce the appearance of scars, and whether it’s worth it at all!

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What is a tummy tuck surgery?

An abdominoplasty or a ‘tummy tuck surgery,’ as many call it, is a plastic surgery procedure to remove excess skin on the abdomen and make the skin look taut and tight. Tummy tucks are generally performed on people looking to reduce the look of flabby skin that may be because of weight gain or multiple pregnancies and have a lot of stretch marks.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons mentions that this procedure will not permanently remove stretch marks unless the excised area of skin has a lot of them. A tummy tuck surgery is a surgical technique meant to remove excess skin only and should not be confused with liposuction.

Research suggests that the most common causes for sagging skin can be hereditary skin issues, multiple pregnancies, significant fluctuations in weight (mostly weight gain), aging, and prior invasive surgeries in the stomach area.

A tummy tuck should also not be considered an alternative to working out or weight loss. A tummy tuck procedure is extremely invasive and causes distress to the body.

Please note that significant weight gain can cause the effects of a tummy tuck procedure may reverse or diminish its effects, even if technically these results are permanent.

A board-certified plastic surgeon should ideally not recommend a tummy tuck unless the patient in question is healthy otherwise. Patients with heart issues can suffer clots in the blood supply to and from the abdomen, a permanent problem that can have fatal consequences. These issues are rare but are a possibility.

There are different types of tummy tuck surgery. There is a full tummy tuck or a complete abdominoplasty. This is an invasive cosmetic surgery that will include the plastic surgeon making a deep incision on your abdominal area from hip bone to hip bone and contouring abdominal muscles, tissue, fat, and skin.

Your plastic surgeon may move the belly button, and you might need to use a drainage tube on your belly button for a few days after the surgery. There is a less invasive option also; this is called a mini tummy tuck or partial abdominoplasty. This is a method to minimize scarring and invasive incisions.

A mini tummy tuck is recommended for people who have fat accumulation in the lower abdomen. Here, unlike a wide horizontal scar in a full tummy tuck incision, the plastic surgeon will make a shorter incision in the lower abdomen. The belly button is likely not moved in this procedure.

If you are not sure which one you need, make sure you have a conversation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

As per the American Society of plastic surgeons, you may have to stop weeks before and months after the surgery if you smoke routinely. 

What is a tummy tuck scar?

It is essential to understand that a traditional tummy tuck will leave you with a permanent scar. After the surgery, the scar will be a thin pink line that will extend from side to side on your lower belly, under your belly button. The scar tissue will likely be deep and hard.

The thick layers of scar tissue are called hypertrophic scars and can appear very pronounced. However, you need not fret. The appearance can be reduced significantly with scar management treatments.

Make sure you have a conversation with your plastic surgeon about the location of the incision, the resultant scarred skin what are different approaches you can take to make the visibility of the scarring reduce.

You can do simple things at home to reduce it or go for other methods. Here’s a list of things you can do as scar treatments!

1. Laser

If you want to get closest to the perfectly clad bathing suit or bikini bottom with flawless skin, go for a laser treatment. Laser treatments to reduce the visibility of skin scars, particularly redness of the area.

Scarring is reduced by exposing it to vascular lasers to resurface healthy new collagen that promotes regrowth of fresh younger skin, especially tummy tuck scars on fully mature tissue.

It is a great scar treatment method but makes sure you get a lot of time to recover from the plastic surgery procedure before considering exposing the scar to lasers. After the procedure, it can take a while for the new scar tissues to develop.

Your surgeon will likely recommend a period of rest time for your body before you can perform any more procedures. A laser scarring reduction, particularly for the targetted removal of tummy tuck scars, is fairly expensive too.

Laser is not a method to reduce pain and discomfort in the procedure or any pain caused in the pelvic area due to the procedure. It is a cosmetic procedure, not a medical cure.

2. Surgical scar revision

This method of scar removal is a good way to remove scarring significantly. It can restore texture and tone better than other methods.

A tummy tuck scar may be permanent, but you can receive a pretty good result with this combination treatment of topical treatments and some minimally invasive techniques. A plastic surgeon will perform a surgical scar revision only after giving the scar enough time to heal and naturally fade as much as possible.

Generally, a surgeon will recommend this scar revision procedure only after a year of the tummy tuck as it is, unlike other treatments, still invasive. This procedure can also be fairly costly. Consult your surgeon or general physician while considering this option!

3. Grafts

Much like any other method of surgical reconstruction, you can minimize the look of tummy tuck scars with punch grafts. A hole is made on your tummy, and the scar tissue is extracted and replaced with new tissue.

This new skin is generally grafted from behind your ear. The incision scar will not disappear, but it becomes much smoother and even-toned. This procedure is also invasive, so pre-procedure care is a must.

4. Topical treatments

Tummy tuck scars are created because of an invasive incision. The incision is deep into your muscles. This means that topical treatments can only be effective if done continuously for a long period of time.

Like any scar, a tummy tuck scar fades over time, and topical treatments can make that process slightly better by nourishing the surrounding skin, improving blood circulation, and essentially lending a helping hand to your body to do its own thing. Your body is capable of a lot more than you think, and you don’t necessarily need to turn to invasive scar removal treatments.

Scars can be managed by following simple methods; keep your skin consistently moisturized. Believe it or not, moisturization with simple products like Vaseline can significantly reduce the appearance of scars! After allowing your scar wound to heal fully, apply Vaseline on your fresh scar regularly in a circular motion.

To help flatten the tummy tuck scar, you can apply a generous quantity of Vaseline on top of it and cover it with some pressure, like a bandage. Massaging for 10 to 15 minutes can help quicken the fading process. This method slows the growth of new scar tissue and ensures that the existing scars aren’t too pronounced.

Scars created because of a deep incision can be treated with Vitamin E oil. Many topical medicines and treatments like scar creams contain this ingredient, and many people have sworn by this oil to reduce the look of scars.

Keeping a scar moisturized is crucial; this method helps the production of supple new tissue quicker. The best part about these topical methods is that you can easily do it at home by yourself, saving yourself from trips to a surgeon to solve scarring issues invasively.

Can a mini tummy tuck scar me?

Yes. A mini tummy tuck can leave scars. Typical scars in a mini tummy tuck are far less pronounced than those from a traditional tummy tuck. However, the surgeon will ensure that the procedure leaves a smaller, less noticeable scar.

The bottom line about the tummy tuck scar

An abdominoplasty, full or partial, is a permanent invasive procedure, and one must give it a lot of thought. In simple words, it’s impossible to get this procedure done without a scar.

However, prospective patients need not lose hope, and both surgical and topical methods exist that will allow you to reduce the look of a tummy tuck scar significantly. Over some time, it may even be almost non-existent.

If your insurance allows it, you should go for a consultation (some plastic surgeons may offer a complimentary consultation, too) and understand the risks and benefits before considering this as an option for aesthetic upliftment.

Your body will treat you as well as you treat it. Ensure that you maintain a healthy and active lifestyle to help you be physically and mentally healthy first.

While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. -----------------------------------

Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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