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  • Tummy Tuck Scars: What to Expect from a Tummy Tuck Scar

Tummy Tuck Scars: What to Expect from a Tummy Tuck Scar

  • Neodyne
  • September 1, 2021

Regardless of whether you had a mini or full tummy tuck, you're bound to have some scarring. This can be frustrating, considering you want to show off your newly sculpted body. So if you've been asking yourself, "do tummy tuck scars go away?" and how to make them less noticeable, you've come to the right place.

In this guide, we'll take a close look at what to expect from tummy tuck scars, when they could be a cause for concern, and tummy tuck scar removal techniques. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about tummy tuck scars, or use the links below to skip to the sections you're most interested in.

Tummy Tuck Scar Stages

After a tummy tuck, a scar will form wherever the plastic surgeon makes an incision. While they may not be visually appealings, scars play a vital role in your healing, especially after a major surgical procedure like a tummy tuck. In fact, scars are your body's natural way of helping you replace and repair lost or damaged skin. Once the healing process begins, incisions will typically follow a similar cycle that involves the following scar stages:

1st Stage: Closure

The first stage occurs when the skin is broken or where an incision is made. As a result, your body will release collagen fibers in an effort to close the wound and fill in the gaps. This stage takes about three to four weeks and is one of the most vulnerable phases.

2nd Stage: Establishment

The collagen fibers your body produces will continue to build, becoming stronger with time. To protect and strengthen the wound further, blood supply around scarred areas will increase. This will cause the scar to darken and become thicker. This stage can take approximately three to six months to complete.

Final stage: Maturity

Once your tummy tuck scar is at its final stage, it has reached maturity. This is when enough collagen fibers have been formed at the scar and the blood supply around it will decrease. As a result, the scar will become thinner, lighter, and less noticeable. A scar may take one to two years to mature.

Woman with pre-surgery markings

Types of Tummy Tuck Scars

The tummy tuck scar you end up with can vary depending whether you get a traditional or mini abdominoplasty procedure. However, tummy tuck scars can occur in three main areas, including the belly button, lower abdomen, and pelvic area. Let's take a closer look at what tummy tuck scars may look like in these locations below.

Belly Button

The belly button area may experience quite a bit of scarring when a traditional tummy tuck takes place. This is because the belly button will still be attached to the abdominal wall during the tummy tuck procedure. So, the scar will form a circle around the belly button. Sometimes, the skin will be pulled or tucked enough that scarring won't be that visible. You can also avoid full tummy tuck scars in this area by opting to have a mini tummy tuck instead.

Lower Abdomen

Lower abdomen tummy tuck scars are located in between your belly button and pelvic area. Depending on the type of tummy tuck, this can produce short or longer incisions that run from hip to hip. Scarring in this area will be quite visible, so you may want to consider having the incisions placed lower.

Pelvic Area

Some plastic surgeons will give patients the chance to determine how low their incision is. This way, patients can easily hide their tummy tuck scars under the bikini line. Discussing scarring with your plastic surgeon before the procedure is one of the easiest ways to reduce the visibility of tummy tuck scars. At your consultation, your plastic surgeon may guide you on where scarring will occur, so you can adequately prepare.

When to be Concerned About Your Tummy Tuck Scar

Not all tummy tuck scars are going to look and feel the same on your body. Some will be flat and others will be raised or lumpy. What it comes down to is your skin type, the direction of the wound, your age, and diet. After your tummy tuck, your skin is expected to scar, and may not look the best the first couple of weeks. Don't worry, tummy tuck scars will fade and eventually get better. That said, here are a few red flags to look out for that could be signs of infection:

  • Excessive redness and bleeding
  • Increased swelling and bruising
  • Yellow or greenish discharge from the incision site
  • Unpleasant smelling drainage

If you have any of the symptoms above, along with a fever over 100.4°F (38°C) and chills, contact your doctor or seek medical attention right away. Untreated infections could be life-threatening and can result in permanent scarring, making it more difficult to minimize their appearance.

You can prevent infections and other related issues from making the scar worse by following the tummy tuck surgery aftercare guidelines outlined by your plastic surgeon, such as:

  • Not smoking or drinking alcohol
  • Avoiding activities, such as heavy lifting and exercising
  • Taking antibiotics and anticoagulants as recommended

Abnormal Tummy Tuck Scars

Hypertrophic and Keloid scars are two types of abnormal scars that can develop after a tummy tuck. Hypertrophic scars are raised, thickened scars that are usually no more than 4 millimeters above the skin. These scars are a result of an overproduction of collagen during the incision healing process due to a person's skin type or body or infections. On the other hand, keloid scars are bulky, large, and can get bigger over time. This can occur due to an individual's specific skin type and genetics.

Despite their appearance, there's nothing to be concerned about either of these scars. There are various treatments that can be used to reduce the way these scars look on your skin, including home remedies, laser treatment, and surgery.

Woman with post-op bandage

How to Reduce the Appearance of Your Tummy Tuck Scar

You may have gotten a tummy tuck so you can show off your wonderful body, but scars after a tummy tuck can make it difficult to enjoy your new look. Fortunately, there are various ways to reduce the appearance of tummy tuck scars and finally enjoy your skin.

Proper care

With proper care, you can make tummy tuck scars on your skin less noticeable. Make sure to closely follow the aftercare instructions your plastic surgeon recommends for the best results. A good plastic surgeon should provide detailed instructions on how to take care of the wound. Keeping the area as clean as possible and dressing the wound correctly can help incision scarring heal faster, reduce the chances of infection, and prevent overly noticeable scarring.

Ointments

Once there aren't any more scabs on the incision site, you can begin using topical treatments. Ideally, treat the area with ointments that contain silicone, vitamin E, or both, as it can hydrate the scar tissue and keep it moisturized. Make sure to not use ointments or moisturizers until the incisions have closed. Doing so before the site is ready can increase the probability of infection and hinder healing.

Patches

One easy way to hinder the appearance of tummy tuck scars is by using patches. Generally, patches are simple to use and are made with silicone to significantly reduce the appearance of dark and raised scars. If choosing to move forward with patches, make sure the patches you use are water resistant so that you can shower and exercise without worry. One option is our silicone scar sheets that are easy to apply and can stay on regardless of the activity.

Laser therapy

Dermatologists will focus a high-energy laser on your tummy tuck scars to make them less noticeable. Light therapy works by stimulating the production of collagen at the site of the incision scar, allowing for it to blend in with the surrounding skin tissue. However, depending on the size and depth of your scar, this may take multiple sessions, which can be costly. In fact, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of laser treatment can range anywhere between $1,445 to $2,509. Plus, because it's considered a cosmetic procedure, most health insurance companies won't cover it.

Woman with abdomen scar

All tummy tucks will lead to scarring. However, the visibility and healing process ultimately depends on the scar's placement, your body, and how it's taken care of. Trust the process, remain patient, follow your surgeon's post-op care guidelines, and closely monitor the scar for infections. Make sure to also start treatment right away, so you don't have to worry about tummy tuck scars after a year has passed.

If you're looking for a simple yet effective and affordable way of minimizing the appearance of tummy tuck scars, take a look at our tummy tuck kit. This kit features our clinically proven embrace® Active Scar Defense scar therapy treatment, which can make abdominoplasty scars less visible in as little as 60 days. embrace® can also help with tummy tuck scars that are five years old or more. Don't believe us? Check out our collection of untouched tummy tuck before and after scar pictures to see what embrace® can do for your skin.