An abdominoplasty can help reduce fat and allow patients to obtain a slimmer, more pleasing appearance. However, this new look comes at a small price. Those who undergo a tummy tuck should expect to have some scarring as a result of their surgery.
Tummy tuck scars will vary depending on the patient and the extensiveness of their surgery. Those undergoing a full tummy tuck will likely have the most noticeable scarring. The concept of a tummy tuck is to remove excess skin and fat from the area while repositioning the navel. As such, those who opt for a full tummy tuck will have two scars – one horizontal stretching from hip to hip across the lower abdomen, and another circling the belly button.
Most patients are able to hide the lower abdomen scar, even when wearing a piece of revealing clothing such as a bikini. The circular scar around the bellybutton will be more visible in these types of outfits, but is generally smaller and less noticeable than the lower abdomen scar. Of course, this varies from person to person and can depend on genetics. While all patients will experience some scarring, the severity of the scar rests on numerous factors.
For example, the patient's lifestyle during the tummy tuck recovery period is extremely important. Many patients may not realize it, but habits such as smoking can increase the severity of scars. This is because the skin cells will be receiving less oxygen, reducing their ability to heal. Thus, those who want minimal scarring should be sure to follow all of their surgeon's recommendations for the recovery period. Trying to return to work too early, taking aspirin products or exposing the abdomen to sun and water in the weeks following the procedure may also have a negative effect on scars.
Some patients may notice their scars getting worse during recovery and begin to panic. However, it's normal for the scars to get darker and more noticeable for three to six months after the surgery. Fortunately, scarring will usually begin to fade after this point. Patients may want to talk to their surgeon about various creams and makeup that can conceal the appearance of these scars.
Finally, patients who opt for a mini tummy tuck or partial abdominoplasty will need fewer incisions for the procedure to be complete, resulting in less scarring. In these surgeries, the incision is usually a small horizontal cut below the navel, with no circular scar around the belly button.