Tummy Tuck Scarring: What You Should Know
It is no secret that the midsection is one of the most susceptible to stubborn fat. You may eat well and take really good care of your body but, for some reason, have noticed that your abdominal area is saggy and squishy beyond what feels comfortable and cosmetically acceptable. The muscles of the abdomen can weaken and stretch during pregnancy or as a result of being overweight. When these conditions are gone, the laxity remains. Sometimes, it can just be a matter of aging and our genetic makeup that results in loose abdominal tissue. Whatever it is that gets us there, we know there’s a way out. Tummy tuck surgery is very common among adults of all ages. If you’re considering this procedure, your thoughts may continually wander to the issue of recovery. Much has been written about how to manage the post-op recovery period after a tummy tuck. Here, we want to discuss the matter of the abdominoplasty scar.
What Type of Scarring to Expect
You might think that every person who has a tummy tuck will have the same scar. This isn’t the case. Knowing this ahead of time, you can ask your surgeon more direct questions about your particular case. What type of incision will they use? How long do they expect the incision to be? Some of the common incision scars that might be incurred by a tummy tuck include the belly button and the lower abdomen.
The lower abdomen is the area most commonly recognized for scarring after a tummy tuck. Here, the surgeon makes the horizontal incision as low as possible without minimizing access to the abdominal muscle and connective tissue. The abdominoplasty incision is nearly always low enough to sit beneath a bikini or underpants. It may or may not extend all the way from one hip to the other. It also may or may not tilt upward at the ends, similar to bicycle handlebars. These are details you’ll learn at your tummy tuck consultation.
The belly button is an area that may come as a surprise to some patients. Here, a scar may appear around the belly button after a full tummy tuck that involves the repositioning and tightening of tissue around the anchored belly button. This means that the belly button remains connected to its underlying connective tissue during the abdominoplasty procedure, it is not disconnected and repositioned. Fortunately, the belly button scar tends to fade nicely after surgery and is barely noticeable once it does.
Why Scarring Occurs
We know that incisions are a type of wound and that, as such, a scar results. If you’re the curious type, you might like a little more detailed description. After surgery, the body makes more collagen to heal the tissue that has been cut. This initial influx of collagen, though, is messy, to be honest. The body is concerned with getting collagen to the area, not with the organization of those protein molecules. As a result, a new scar may have a slightly rippled or puckered appearance. Tummy tuck patients may notice a “dog ear” type of flap at one or both ends of their incision as it heals. Over several weeks, the original collagen that is laid down around the incision is replaced with a more organized matrix of the protein. This is when we see the scar lighten and flatten out more dramatically. Still, if you are interested in a tummy tuck or mommy makeover, know that your abdominal scar will continue to heal over the course of about a year.
You can help your tissue heal optimally by doing just a few things well:
- Strictly adhere to your post-op instructions, including how to cleanse and treat incisions as they heal.
- Do not smoke. If you’re a smoker, you had to quit before surgery. We strongly encourage you to avoid picking up the habit anytime soon. Doing so can rob your tissue of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to rebuild strong, resilient skin after surgery.
- Eat well. The more nutrients you can get into your body after surgery, the better. Drink green drinks. Eat whole foods and lean proteins. Fill the majority of your plate with leafy greens and vibrant vegetables. Doing so provides the body with the building blocks for healing.
Now is a great time for a tummy tuck. To schedule your consultation at our Louisville office, contact us at 502-425-5200.