A tummy tuck is an effective way to improve sagging skin and weakened muscles in your midsection. Your midsection can change due to pregnancy, weight loss, or age, and sometimes diet and exercise alone can’t improve this area. While a tummy tuck can give you the contoured midsection you have been dreaming about, you may have concerns about scarring after the procedure.
This post will discuss the extent of scarring you can expect after your tummy tuck, how to recover from your tummy tuck with minimal scarring, and how to minimize the appearance of your scar.
How Does a Tummy Tuck Work?
Before we discuss scarring, let’s understand the tummy tuck procedure a bit more. During your procedure, your plastic surgeon will make a low horizontal incision just above the pubic area from hip to hip and a second incision around the bellybutton. These incisions allow the surgeon to remove excess skin and fat from your abdomen and then reposition your skin over your flatter, firmer midsection.
You can also choose to combine liposuction with your tummy tuck for optimal sculpting and fat removal.
Your Tummy Tuck Recovery
During the first week after your procedure, you should get plenty of rest and avoid any activities that will strain your incision. However, you should engage in gentle movement (such as short, slow walks around your house) after the procedure to promote healing and avoid blood clots.
Typically, you can return to work 2 weeks after your tummy tuck. If you have a job that involves a lot of standing and strenuous activity, you may have to wait around 3 to 4 weeks before returning to work. Read our tummy tuck FAQ for more information about the recovery process.
Will I Have Scarring After My Tummy Tuck?
Yes, if you are having a full tummy tuck, you will be left with a hip-to-hip scar from the surgery’s low horizontal incision. If your procedure is a mini tummy tuck, you may have a shorter scar than a full tummy tuck.
Initially, your scar will have a raised, firm, and red or pink appearance. After your incision has fully healed at about 6 weeks, it should start to fade and flatten slowly.
After a year following your procedure, your tummy tuck scar should look much better but will not disappear permanently. Your plastic surgeon will give you realistic expectations regarding what your tummy tuck scar will look like after your procedure.
How To Hide and Minimize Your Tummy Tuck Scar
While a scar after a tummy tuck is inevitable, there are things you can do to minimize its appearance.
Choose an Experienced Plastic Surgeon
An experienced and board-certified plastic surgeon will use techniques to minimize your tummy tuck scar. One of these strategies is placing the incision low on your body so your underwear or a swimsuit can hide it. Plastic surgeons also use special suturing techniques or adhesives to minimize scarring.
Stay Away From the Sun
Sun protection is especially important when you are trying to minimize the appearance of a scar. Scar tissue can be fragile and react differently to the sun than the rest of your skin. Make sure to use sunscreen every day for at least 1 year to avoid the scar becoming dark or discolored.
Use Scar Creams
Several scar-reducing creams are available to help reduce and eliminate scars. You should talk to your plastic surgeon about products that would be most effective at minimizing the appearance of your scar. Additionally, when choosing a scar cream, avoid any harsh and abrasive ingredients that might irritate the scar further.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy diet and active lifestyle can play an important role in minimizing the appearance of your scar. Eating nutrient-dense and water-rich foods can keep your skin hydrated and help your scar heal faster and smoother. Consistent exercise can help blood flow and deliver blood to the surgery site to promote better healing.
Try Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatments
You should know that laser skin treatments can’t completely eliminate your tummy tuck scar, but they can improve its appearance. Laser treatments such as HALO® can remove the outer skin layer of the scar, giving it a smoother and softer look. While you may need multiple sessions to get the results you want, laser treatments are possibly the most effective way to minimize your tummy tuck scar.
Is a Trimmer Tummy Worth a Scar?
A tummy tuck is a great way to achieve a flatter, firmer midsection—even with its resulting scar. Most people who have had tummy tuck surgery say the scar is well worth the new body confidence they gained by having the surgery. On RealSelf, 95% of responding tummy tuck patients rated the procedure “worth it.” That rating closely matches our patients’ experience. Men and women who seek out our practice for a tummy tuck love their results, and you can see why in their before and after pictures.
If you’re considering tummy tuck surgery, understanding the recovery process and how to minimize scarring can help prepare you for what lies ahead. Ready to see how a tummy tuck can transform your midsection? Request a consultation or call us at (480) 466-7355 to schedule an appointment at our Gilbert, AZ, practice.