Scarring is inevitable with any surgical procedure – it’s part of our skin’s way of healing a wound by building new tissue. An abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is no different. If you’re getting a tummy tuck, you can expect to have a scar. Still, there are steps you can take to minimize their long-term visibility before and after your surgery. While I take great care to leave you with the least visible scar possible, most patients find the results of their tummy tuck to be well-worth any scarring.
What’s Involved in the Procedure?
After making an incision, the skin in your abdominal region is lifted so that excess fat can be removed, and the abdominal muscles can be tightened. The skin is then re draped and the excess is removed.
What Types of Scars Can I Expect?
The size, location, and visibility of scars will depend on the type of abdominoplasty you need. If you need a mini-tuck, you will have a smaller, more easily hidden scar as a result of the smaller incision. The scar is usually below the belly button and only a little longer than a C-section scar.
For more traditional tummy tucks, the scar will be from hip to hip and well-hidden in the bikini line. You will have a scar around your belly button since it’s typically relocated during your procedure.
If you have experienced significant weight loss, you can expect a large upside-down T-shaped scar across the abdomen. This is usually because there is horizontal skin excess as well as vertical excess, so the incision will extend up the midline of the abdomen.
What Kind of Scarring is Normal?
The scar from a tummy tuck is permanent, but I do my best to produce the smallest, thinnest, least visible scar possible. Scars also mature over a period of one to two years and become significantly less visible with time. If you have undergone a cesarean section, I often am able to incorporate your existing scar into the new scar or remove the old scar entirely.
Although your scar will be mostly healed after 12 weeks, it can take up to a year to fully heal. Following my pre- and post-operative care instructions will give you the best chance of minimizing the visibility of your scars.
What Can I Do Before Surgery To Prevent Scarring?
During your surgical planning appointment, bring underwear or bikini bottoms so you can get a clear idea of where the scarring will be in relation to your panty line. You should also bring up any specific concerns you may have regarding scarring. Prior to your procedure, you should stop smoking for at least six weeks to reduce complications.
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What Can I Do to Minimize Scarring After My Surgery?
I use a special clear dressing that I developed in conjunction with 3M over 30 years ago. This special dressing covers the incision, keeping it clean and reducing the risk of infection. While the dressing was developed to improve wound healing, it also significantly reduces scarring. I recommend this dressing, which is invisible under clothing, as an alternative to using scar creams or silicone sheeting.
Scars react differently to the sun than your normal skin. Prolonged sun exposure should be avoided for at least a year, and sunscreen should be used even when incisions are covered. This will prevent the scar from becoming darker than the skin around it.
My results are beautiful and so natural. Dr.Barnett is work is of the highest caliber. He and his staff worked with me pre and post op so I would know exactly what to do and expect before and after surgery. He gave me a range of options for recommended procedures. I would give him 6 stars if I could.
Take the Next Step
Ready to look and feel your best? Schedule a consultation with Andrew Barnett M.D. to discuss your options today. Consultations are available in both our San Francisco and Walnut Creek offices. You may schedule for either location by calling (415) 879-8735. Renee or Laurie will help you and answer any pre-consultation questions you may have!