How extensive is the scarring after the tummy tuck?
There are quite a number of people who are afraid of going through a tummy tuck even if qualified. The fear stems from reasonable concerns about post-operative scarring. While the tummy tuck is a major plastic surgery, and the scarring is relatively deeper and extensive, there are many factors in play that determine the extent of scarring after a tummy tuck.
One of the important factors that will affect the appearance of your tummy tuck scar depends on the technique your plastic surgeon uses during the surgery. There are different incision placement techniques for a tummy tuck surgery and if properly placed, your scar may not be as extensive or as visible.
A full tummy tuck surgery will require two incisions. Your surgeon uses these incisions to remove the surplus fat and skin from your abdomen and to repair any damaged abdominal wall muscle. The first is a horizontal incision, ideally placed below panty line and the second one is placed at the belly button.
Horizontal incision: This incision is used to excise the extra skin from your abdomen. Your plastic surgeon will place it below your panty line – between your navel and pubic mound. Please note that the exact location of the incision will depend on your anatomy and your aesthetic goals. Many plastic surgeons place this incision below the panty line so the scar is less noticeable and visible.
Navel incision: This incision is used to hold the navel securely in its place. The good news is that this incision also helps the surgeon aesthetically shape your belly button. Some surgeons use round shape incision around the belly button. There are many patients who don’t know about this incision type, and when they wear a bikini after the surgery, the navel scar can sometimes be visible. The inverted U is the preferred incision technique of many surgeons in the belly button area. The inverted U incision mimics the look of your actual navel, which result in a natural looking scar that blends with your body.
The horizontal and navel incisions can be placed very carefully, so that the bikini can cover one incision and the navel can camouflage the other. Discuss the post tummy tuck scarring with your plastic surgeon during the initial consultation to put your fears to rest. Ask your surgeon about the incisions techniques and placements he will perform. You must communicate your aesthetic goals to the surgeon up front, and if you hate scars, an honest discussion about scarring will manage expectations and be mutually beneficial.
The good news is that the resulting scars will gradually fade and become less visible over time. Please note that just like in any surgery, the scars will not completely disappear. The extent of scarring will also depend on your skin quality and post-operative care. You should avoid direct sun exposure for the first 4-6 months after the procedure to help minimize your tummy tuck scars.
During the recovery process, be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions to the letter. Applying unnecessary pressure or force to the incisions or engaging in strenuous activities during the recovery period can result in extensive and unsightly scarring.
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