Sometimes, diet and exercise alone can’t eliminate a belly pooch and loose abdominal skin—especially following pregnancy or significant weight loss. A tummy tuck can give you a firmer, flatter midsection and help you achieve your ideal physique.
When considering this popular procedure, it’s critical to understand what to expect. If you’re wondering what your tummy tuck scar will look like post-surgery, keep reading! We’ll describe tummy tuck scars and explain how tummy tuck surgeons deliver transformative body contouring results while minimizing your incisions and scarring as much as possible.
How Is Tummy Tuck Surgery Performed?
During a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, we remove excess skin and fat to improve abdominal contours and tighten the underlying muscles. Our surgical approach, including the type and length of incisions we use, is based on your unique needs and goals.
Different types of tummy tuck surgery include:
Mini Tummy Tuck: This surgery uses smaller incisions for minimal correction to the tummy below the bellybutton only. There is no incision around the naval. This limited approach has a shorter recovery time, and your mini tummy tuck scar will be smaller and less visible compared to a full tummy tuck. However, it’s not the best solution for most patients. Men and women only concerned about tightening a small amount of loose skin are ideal candidates for a mini tummy tuck.
Full Tummy Tuck: A full tummy tuck addresses the entire abdominal area using a hip-to-hip horizontal incision. Loose, excess skin and fat are removed from the entire abdominal area (above and below the bellybutton), and weakened or separated abdominal muscles are repaired. Creating a new opening for the bellybutton is usually necessary, which affects scarring. We often combine a full tummy tuck with liposuction for enhanced results.
Extended Tummy Tuck: This procedure removes excessive skin and tissue around the midsection, including the sides and lower back. It is ideal for men and women who have lost significant weight and is frequently performed as part of a circumferential body lift procedure. With this technique, we use a long incision that extends beyond the hip area, which creates a bigger scar but allows for more extensive correction and dramatic results. We also make a new opening for the bellybutton.
You can learn more about determining whether you’re a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery in our related blog post.
Tummy Tuck Scars: What To Expect
While tummy tuck scars are an inevitable part of your procedure, our board-certified plastic surgeons accomplish the best possible healing with multiple-layer suture closure. This technique minimizes tension on the incision and improves scarring.
Immediately after surgery, your incisions may appear red and inflamed. After a few months, tummy tuck scars typically flatten and fade to a softer pink. While scars are permanent, most patients can expect their tummy tuck scars to heal and fade significantly within 6 to 12 months. After this point, the scar should look like a fine line and is easily concealed by your underwear or swimsuit.
The most common types of tummy tuck scars include:
Horizontal Scar: A hip-to-hip horizontal scar is typical of traditional tummy tucks. A mini tummy tuck scar will be significantly shorter. Both types of incisions are located on the lower abdomen in the pubic area, making it very inconspicuous. An extended tummy tuck scar is also made very low on the abdomen but curves around the flanks and partially along the back, causing longer scarring. However, all tummy tuck scars fade over time and become less noticeable.
Bellybutton Scar: If we reposition the skin around your navel during a full or extended tummy tuck, you will have a small circular or vertical oval-shaped scar—usually hidden within the folds of your bellybutton.
Minimizing Your Tummy Tuck Scars
You can take steps to minimize tummy tuck scarring by carefully following your post-op protocol and using these best practices:
- Applying sunscreen and avoiding sun exposure
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
- Using gentle skin products and other topical treatments
- Avoiding products and clothing that can irritate healing skin
- Using scar cream or silicone scar tape
With proper care and understanding of your healing and recovery, you can achieve a more confident—and contoured—version of YOU. We encourage you to explore your tummy tuck options by requesting a consultation online or calling us at (310) 784-0644 .