When cosmetic surgery involves incisions, these incisions will turn into scars. It’s impossible to perform surgery and make incisions without leaving a scar at all. But with a great plastic surgeon and proper aftercare, over time, your tummy tuck scars will fade.
Types of Tummy Tuck Procedures
A tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure performed to restore a flat tummy for a more youthful appearance. After pregnancy and birth, women go through so many changes that leave them with loose skin. The cosmetic procedure for men and women also targets excess loose skin. There are different types of tummy tuck procedures. Your doctor may recommend one option over another based on how much skin and fat needs removing.
Standard Tummy Tuck
Also referred to as a full tummy tuck, this is a common procedure ideal for those with lots of excess skin and fat. The surgeon makes a long hip-to-hip incision around the bikini area. They then reshape and repair the abdomen and the muscles from the rib cage to the pubic area. Excess skin and fat are then removed, tightened and reinforced. A qualified surgeon will ensure that the incision is within the bikini line so that the scar is not visible above the underwear or swimwear. If the surgeon needs to remove a lot of skin, they may have to reconstruct and reposition your belly button.
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck requires the surgeon to make a smaller incision. The procedure is ideal for those who only have small amounts of excess fat and skin in the lower abdomen. The incision is shorter, and it’s made across the lower abdomen. After making the incision, the surgeon will tighten your abdominal muscles and trim away any excess skin and fat. Your belly button stays in place and doesn’t need repositioning. Most of the time, the doctor will combine a mini tummy tuck with liposuction to further enhance the results. Recovery time is much shorter than a full tummy tuck. A mini tummy tuck scar is also much smaller and less noticeable.
Drainless Tummy Tuck
A drainless tummy tuck also removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen. The only difference is the elimination of post-surgical drains. The surgeon will make an incision like a standard tummy tuck, but the wound closure is slightly different. An advanced suturing technique helps close the incision thus requiring no drains. By eliminating the need for drains, your recovery time will be shorter. There is also a reduced risk of developing post-surgical complications.
Where is Your Tummy Tuck Scar?
A tummy tuck can smooth and tone the stomach, remove excess skin, and improve the contours of the body. While this sounds great, it’s natural to worry about scarring. Although you’re excited about your new shape, it’s entirely normal to have concerns about where your scars are and what they look like.
There are various abdominoplasty techniques, and your scarring location may differ. For instance, a mini tummy tuck and full tummy tuck leave different scarring. In general, you can expect to have tummy tuck scars in the following places:
- Pelvic region – whether you have a mini or full tummy tuck, you will have a scar from hip to hip in your pelvic area. Depending on the technique used, the length of the scar can vary.
- Vertical scars – you may have a scar that goes from your belly button if there is a lot of excess skin.
- Belly button – a full tummy tuck leaves a scar around your belly button.
How Long Does it Take for Your Tummy Tuck Scar to Heal?
It’s important to understand that scars go through stages of healing. So, a new scar usually looks red and tender as this is the first stage of healing. About 1 month after the surgery, it may look dark red and brown, and it’s normal to be slightly raised at this point. After 3 months, the scar will still have some redness. A tummy tuck scar after 6 months should look like it’s fading and will lose its bold red colour.
As you move through your tummy tuck recovery, the scar will continue to fade. After 1 year, it should be lighter, thinner and flatter. A tummy tuck scar after 5 years is almost less noticeable and continues fading some more as time goes by.
How to Minimise Scarring After a Tummy Tuck: 7 Tips
The first step to making scars less visible is choosing an expert plastic surgeon. This should be someone experienced in creating well-hidden scars in the natural creases of the body. In addition, there are a few things you can do to help minimise the appearance of scars like:
1. Follow Your Surgeon’s Instructions
After your surgery, your plastic surgeon will tell you how to care for your scar. They will also give you instructions to follow to optimise the healing process. After a tummy tuck, the best thing you can do to ensure that your scar fades well is to follow the laid down post-surgical instructions.
Moisturising the scar can help to soften it. Your surgeon may also recommend using silicone tape to help minimise the appearance of scarring.
3. Stay Out of the Sun
Direct exposure to the sun can cause scars to darken permanently. After your surgery, make sure to keep your scars out of the sun and make sure they are covered by shorts or a bikini bottom. This includes anything with UV exposure, such as tanning beds.
4. Stick to a Healthy Lifestyle
Stay hydrated, quit smoking, and keep a healthy weight after your surgery to maintain your tummy tuck results.
5. Avoid Heavy Lifting
The first 4 to 6 weeks should be all about recovery. During this time, avoid strenuous activities like heavy lifting and exercising. You should also avoid bending, stretching or applying any form of pressure on the abdomen. Doing so can put additional tension on the incision site, causing the wound to reopen.
6. Monitor for Any Infection
Incision sites can get infected, especially if you don’t follow your doctor’s advice on post-surgical care. Always inspect the area for any signs of infection and talk to your doctor if your notice anything abnormal.
7. Use Scar Gel
Your doctor may give you scar gel during your two-week post-surgical appointment. Scar gel helps reduce redness around the scar and flatten it. If the scar thickens too much, laser treatment or steroid injections can help.
While all surgeries can lead to scarring, a great plastic surgeon will ensure that scarring is inconspicuous and hidden within the bikini line. To learn more about tummy tuck procedures, schedule a consultation today by contacting the Harley Street Clinic, London.