In answering this common and natural question I have a bit of bad news, along with some very, very good news, to share with you.
Starting with the bad news, tummy tuck surgery is not a scar-free procedure.
And now, most importantly, for the good news: the scars are well hidden and more than a fair trade for the better body contour you will achieve.
To make this point a bit more clear, I’ll explain scar formation, tummy tuck scars and how they are minimized with careful surgical technique as part of the tummy tuck procedure.
The Doctor’s POV on Tummy Tuck Scars
A big part of my job as a reconstructive plastic surgeon and health professional is worrying about your scars. Another key duty is taking time to plan and perform your surgery so that scarring is minimal and that the placement is optimized.
I have been doing both aesthetic and reconstructive procedures for 15 years and I have prioritized minimizing tummy tuck scars. I have developed some excellent surgical strategies and techniques over time to minimize scarring for my patients. This is not my only priority, but it’s a big one.
Now, like most doctors and surgeons, I will always put your health and wellbeing first, above cosmetic concerns like scars. But once I have decided that you are a good surgical candidate, it means that I feel the surgery will benefit you and will help achieve your goals. This means that I expect a completely successful and satisfying outcome.
Strategy and Planning: Part of Good Surgical Technique to Limit Scars
Once I have declared you a good candidate in my professional opinion and you decide that surgery is the right option for you, many health concerns are out of the way. That is because:
- If I did not expect an excellent outcome that matches our pre-surgery discussion of your goals, I would not agree to perform the tummy tuck.
- If I did not think your body would heal well, I would not perform any cosmetic surgery on you.
- I would not accept a patient if I was not completely confident that the surgery would make their lives better.
- Once we have reached this point, past the candidacy question, I can start planning the procedure to fit your needs–and specifically to limit your scarring.
With an excellent understanding of the anatomy and function of the abdominal area, built not just on education and training, but also on years of experience; it’s not difficult for me to hide your scars below the underwear or bikini line.
As mentioned before, few will know about your tummy tuck scars. But I don’t rely just on hiding the tummy tuck scars from view.
Good Surgical Technique Limits Tummy Tuck Scars — and Hides It Well
Over time, I have worked to develop innovative surgical methods that enable me to minimize your tummy tuck scars, even though they won’t be visible to the world. In a nutshell, during each phase of the surgery, I make choices that will limit scarring, which include:
- Pre and post-surgery patient instructions: Designed to strengthen and prepare your body for surgery and to decrease healing time.
- Incision placement: Of course, where I cut is crucial. I know exactly where to place my incision so that I can complete my work effectively and make sure the skin heals very well for minimal scarring. The placement, length, and shape of the tummy tuck incision will suit your individual anatomy and needs. The scar can be rather long, but with proper placement, I can ensure it is hidden because it will follow the curve of your anatomy above your pubic area. Attention will be paid to your choice of clothing and swimsuit style.
- Making the incision: Not just where, but how you cut as a surgeon (your surgical technique), is extremely important as well. I make a clean, smooth incision so that both sides of the skin, once I’ve removed the excess, will close optimally.
- A hernia or abdominal wall repair: If your muscles have stretched or separated, I will place them in the proper position once again and secure them by stitching them together. This ensures the muscles won’t protrude and stretch the scar to interfere with healing. Of course, it is also the part of the procedure that cinches your waist or firms your abdomen—and strengthens your core for better posture support. Repairing a hernia, if present, relieves any pain and also helps flatten the tummy.
- Tension: I am meticulous about the amount of skin and tissue I remove to reshape your midsection. I place just enough, but not too much tension on the skin when I close the incision. This way you get your taut, flat tummy, but there’s not too much tension to widen your scar or cause serious wound healing problems.
- Sutures: I have suturing techniques for each of my surgical procedures that are specifically designed to bring the skin together securely and properly. This helps to heal well, limiting the tummy tuck scars.
- Aftercare: Following surgery, you will be given instructions and monitoring/follow-up guidelines to help your incision/wound heal as quickly as possible without infection. My instructions will help you limit swelling and increase circulation to send healing nutrients and oxygen to the scar area. These techniques and guidance promote complete and quick scar healing from your tummy tuck.
What is a Scar? A Little Perspective to Keep in Mind About Tummy Tuck Scars
Even with all of the care that is taken to ensure a minimal tummy tuck scar, that does not mean you won’t see it, even once it is healed. Scars can heal well, however, and don’t have to be raised and ugly once time has passed.
Scars are necessary after the skin is broken. They are part of the healing process and the body’s natural way of replacing and repairing damaged skin. When fully healed, most patients don’t think their tummy tuck scars look “bad.” Strategic placement ensures that your scar will be hidden under clothing and a bathing suit.
Also, remember that “healing quickly and completely” does not mean your scar will heal in a week or two. It takes the body up to a year to reach the point where the scar will lose much of its red tone, flatten out and where it may eventually become a thin line.
You will be happy to know that my tummy tuck patients overwhelmingly rate their surgical experience as ‘completely worth it’ in exchange for the outcome regardless of the scar.
This surgery has an extremely high satisfaction rate with my patients here in Northern NJ, and also those who fly in for a few weeks to have surgery at Cohen/Winters here in Bergen County.
Tummy Tuck Scar Information and Expert Advice: Recapping
- You will have a scar after your abdominoplasty procedure.
- Most people will not know that you have a scar.
- Your tummy tuck scars will be hidden under clothing or underwear and you may have a scar hidden around the edge of the belly button (this scar is not present after a mini-tummy tuck).
- Hernia repair normally won’t cause any additional scars.
- The scar should heal completely and fairly quickly.
- Your scarring will fade over time in color as well as topography (it will flatten) and may become a thin white line.
- Most patients say it was worth the trade-off: With a tummy tuck, as with any surgery or big life decision, you must balance your new svelte body contours against surgical risks, healing time and the scar.
Most importantly, make sure you get all of the details about the procedure, including tummy tuck scars, before making a decision to move forward. Take your time making your decision to have a tummy tuck procedure, so that you can go into surgery confidently. This makes a big difference in your surgery experience and your healing.
We believe that information truly enhances the experience. That’s why we offer a no-charge consultation at our Bergen County office where we will discuss tummy tuck scars, your goals for surgery and if you’re a good candidate. We want you to proceed with surgery only if you’re a good candidate. Let’s discuss your future tummy tuck plans together.