You've done your research, and you're well aware that a tummy tuck is the only way to get rid of the loose, sagging skin in your lower belly and its accompanying stubborn pooch. Financing is not an issue as well because you’ve been saving up for the procedure since last year.
Yet, you’re worried about the possibility of obvious scarring.
For patients who are considering a tummy tuck, scarring is almost always a pressing concern. At our San Francisco practice, we understand where you’re coming from. You’re not the first person to feel reluctant about a tummy tuck because of the possibility of scarring. The good news is scarring from a tummy tuck can be visibly reduced. As long as you take steps to reduce visible scarring, you don’t have to worry too much about it.
In this article, you’ll learn what tummy tuck scars really look like and the steps you can take to make them appear barely noticeable even if you’re wearing a bikini.
What Do Tummy Tuck Scars Really Look Like?
First off, a good tummy tuck candidate should be comfortable with the idea of scarring after surgery. But what kind of scarring really?
By and large, the degree of scarring depends on the type of tummy tuck surgery you’re considering.
For instance, a full tummy tuck scar will run along the bikini line from hip to hip. The scar often flattens and fades with time, but the extent as to how it flattens and fades is really up to Mother Nature. Some patients heal with very fine scars, while others tend to develop thicker heavy scars. Most of the time, it's somewhere in between.
On the other hand, a mini tummy tuck scar is noticeably shorter than a full tummy tuck. However, keep in mind that the degree of improvement from a mini tummy tuck will not be as apparent in contrast to a full tummy tuck.
Other noteworthy factors that impact tummy tuck scarring include your skin tone, skin quality, and the tummy tuck surgeon of your choice.
In hindsight, scars vary depending on one's genetic tendency to scar. Most patients have a scar that is somewhat visible when naked. Others have thicker scars that are very visible, while others have faint scars that are nearly invisible.
Tummy Tuck Scarring - Years Later
A year after surgery, scars are typically well-healed and has lightened in color. Patients with darker skin tone typically end up with darker scars. It's not uncommon for some scars to take up to two years to lighten. In five years, a tummy tuck scar is almost always unnoticeable. It's also worth noting that careful evaluation of the location of a tummy tuck incision can help conceal darker colored scars when sporting your two-piece swimwear.
Dr. Fan’s Tips on Healing and Minimizing Tummy Tuck Scarring
While a "scarless” tummy tuck isn’t possible, the following tips can help you towards gaining a flatter, sexier stomach without worrying about the appearance of an unsightly scar.
1. Find an expert tummy tuck surgeon who is adept in minimizing scarring.
The surgeon of your choice should be able to make incisions that will conceal scarring as much as possible when you’re wearing bikinis. Carefully review the surgeon's before-and-after photographs of previous tummy tuck patients demonstrating wonderful outcomes.
2. Follow hygiene and wound care instructions on how to care for your incisions.
Avoid infection on the incision site at all costs as infected incisions can lead to further scarring.
3. Avoid sun exposure as much as possible because UV radiation can make your scars appear darker and thicker.
Cover up with clothing and apply sunscreen when you have to be outdoors.
4. Use an advanced scar management program after surgery under the supervision of your plastic surgeon.
This program might include treatments such as paper tapes and silicone scar therapies. You might also want to embrace advanced scar therapy and/or laser treatments too.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
To find a tummy tuck surgeon who is not only board-certified but has also spent years mastering the science and art of minimizing tummy tuck scarring, it pays to ask the right questions when evaluating a tummy tuck surgeon.
Most importantly, you should be clear about your specific needs and expectations of the surgery. After all, it’s a decision that you should be equally comfortable and confident about before you commit. A quick, online self-evaluation is a good start towards a flab-free tummy.