You are considering a tummy tuck – the surgical way to get a flatter, firmer tummy – but you wonder about the after-effects.
Most importantly, you’re worried about scars.
Sure, the tummy tuck can give stronger abs and a flatter midsection. The procedure can even be paired with a secondary cosmetic procedure like liposuction to remove large amounts of fat, leaving your tummy in the state you want – flat, firm, and as enviable as can be.
But what good is liposuction for removing belly fat if you’re going to be left with a scar? Is there anything that can be done about scarring to fade or erase them entirely? And are scars really necessary with the tummy tuck procedure?
These are all common questions patients ask when considering tummy tuck surgery. If you are considering a tummy tuck, you are not alone. The tummy tuck has remained one of the top five cosmetic surgeries for many years, sharing the list with breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, and eyelid surgery. A tummy tuck is also a popular procedure to include with the mommy makeover procedure.
And many patients worry about the scarring afterward. However, you will be happy to know that many patients hardly go on to worry about any scarring they experience. That’s because they are too focused on their excellent results!
Yes, there will be scars after the tummy tuck is over, but they can be hidden. A skilled cosmetic surgeon can even make them disappear completely or merge them with other scars.
It helps to understand how your cosmetic surgeon performs a tummy tuck, so you can be prepared for the location and appearance of any scars you may experience.
How is the Tummy Tuck Procedure Performed?
Otherwise known as abdominoplasty, the tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgical procedure that removes excess fat and skin around the abdomen while restoring strength to weakened abdominal muscles. The tummy tuck should never be used for weight loss. But if you are at or near your ideal weight and have trouble losing those last few pounds of belly fat, the tummy tuck procedure can give you the aesthetic results you want.
What Aesthetic Outcome Can You Expect from a Tummy Tuck?
The end result of a tummy tuck is a smoother, firmer abdominal profile. Your cosmetic surgeon accomplishes this by removing the excess skin and fat around your belly and waist. All that flab will be gone by the time you wake up from surgery, leaving behind a flatter abdomen in a single cosmetic surgery session.
A Tummy Tuck Can Remove Stretch Marks
An unintended but positive result of the tummy tuck is that it can sometimes remove stretch marks and excess skin in the lower abdomen area, below the belly button. That’s the area people have the most trouble with. The procedure cannot remove stretch marks located elsewhere on the abdomen.
Is Scarring Necessary with a Tummy Tuck?
Any time an incision is made on the skin, scarring can result. The tummy tuck procedure is no different. Your plastic surgeon needs to reposition the skin around your belly button and remove sagging skin and fat between your belly and pubic area. That requires incisions to be made so that your surgeon can get to the inside of your abdominal wall.
The incisions are made in a horizontal oval or elliptical formation. The technique allows your surgeon to access the connective tissue overlaid on top of the abdominal muscles. Those muscles are sutured during the tummy tuck to make them tighter, and stronger.
The best cosmetic surgeon will make every effort to minimize scarring as the area is stitched together. However, in most cases, a scar after a tummy tuck is inevitable.
Can a Tummy Tuck Scar Be Hidden?
The scar left behind by a tummy tuck is often hidden in an area that is naturally obscured by underwear or a swimsuit. The resulting scar will be placed in a natural crease area on your body that is hardly noticeable at all, especially as the scar fades over time.
You can get a better idea of where the scar will be located along your bikini line by bringing underwear or bikini bottoms to your surgical planning appointment.
Do You Have a C-Section Scar?
If you have previously had a Cesarean section, your plastic surgeon may be able to merge the C-section scar into your tummy tuck scar for a less noticeable effect.
Following surgery, your cosmetic surgeon will give you a supportive abdominal garment to wear. Otherwise known as an abdominal binder, the garment will help with blood flow, and prevent blood clots, contributing to a faster healing experience.
You can also ask your doctor about shapewear for tummy tuck recovery. These garments contribute to faster healing after a tummy tuck, and can help the scars feel better, especially as you move beyond the prescribed abdominal garment.
As part of your post-surgery instructions, you will be told to watch out for infection. Check and clean the incision areas daily. Doing so will keep your scar clean and healthy, potentially reducing its appearance. Cleaning the tummy tuck treatment area also reduces your risk of infection.
What if You Still Experience Tummy Tuck Scarring?
Your tummy tuck scar should be mostly healed after twelve weeks or so. For some, the scar takes as long as a year to fully heal.
During that time, there are steps you can take to minimize the scar’s appearance.
Apply Vitamin E to Minimize the Appearance of Scars
Applying vitamin E to your scars can help to keep the abdominal area moisturized. It could also minimize their appearance over time. Make sure you use 100% vitamin E oil and that you only use it once per day for the first couple of months.
As the scar heals, massaging it can further help with blood flow and the healing process.
Discontinue use if vitamin E causes an adverse reaction or skin irritation.
Watch the Sun Exposure
Scars are made of new skin and may react differently than normal skin in sunlight. The scar could become darker than the other skin under heavy amounts of sun, which could cause it to stand out even more. Using sunscreen on your scar for at least a year after surgery has been shown to help with darkening. Look for a formula made specifically for scars at SPF 30 or higher.
Surgical Treatments for Tummy Tuck Scars
Your cosmetic surgeon can inform you of procedures designed to minimize or erase scars such as the ones left behind after a tummy tuck. Steroid applications and steroid injections can get rid of scars that appear raised, red, and thick.
Laser treatments are also available. These are the same lasers that are used in spider and varicose vein treatments. The lasers collapse the tiny blood vessels on the surface of the skin that lead to redness. Laser resurfacing can improve the tone and texture of the scar, while at the same time resurfacing the skin around it. As the area heals following laser therapy, the scarred skin is replaced with healthy collagen, which further improves the color and texture of the treatment area.
There are two more procedures that can help you erase scars. Surgical scar revision can help the scar tissue match the color and texture of your normal skin. Your cosmetic surgeon uses a combination of topical treatments and minimally invasive procedures, along with surgical revision techniques. The scar will still be there after the area heals, but it will be far less noticeable.
Punch grafts make a small hole in the skin with a handheld tool. The scar is removed and replaced with skin from another area around the body, such as behind the ear. Like surgical scar revision, you will still have a tummy tuck scar after a punch graft, but the area will be smoother and less noticeable.
Have You Considered Vaser Lipo?
Vaser Liposuction is a new cosmetic procedure that can give you amazing results without surgery. When used on the abdomen in place of a tummy tuck, the VASER device eradicates fat to etch out your body’s musculature underneath. Instead of merely giving you a flat tummy, VASER gives you that etched and “shredded” appearance. And since the handheld VASER device has a long and narrow tip, the cosmetic procedure can be used on even the smallest areas of your body, but also the larger ones. Some common areas patients choose to treat with VASER include the jowls, behind the knees, backs of the arms, upper thighs, and buttocks.
But when used on the abdomen, the fat is completely removed for a flatter and firmer midsection. VASER Lipo uses soundwave energy to break fat apart and remove it safely. The soundwaves heat the treatment area, which emulsifies the fat like traditional liposuction but has the added benefit of tightening and toning the skin on and around the midsection. Your abdominal skin becomes more youthful with a healthy glow. Coupled with the fat loss, and your belly will look like that of someone much younger, and in terrific shape.
The best part is that, since VASER only requires tiny incisions for the tip of the device to be inserted, there is minimal scarring left behind. Any scars that are left usually fade with time and are hardly noticeable after about a year.
How Does VASER Compare to the Tummy Tuck?
The tummy tuck is a body contouring procedure that is considered major surgery. As with any surgery, there can be serious complications with a tummy tuck, not only because of the risk of infection like we just mentioned. There is also the chance of excess fluid leakage for several weeks after the procedure, and redness or puffiness at the incision site. The underlying tissue could become inflamed, and you could experience slow wound healing.
These serious complications are rare and can be largely mitigated by taking the time to find a qualified cosmetic surgeon for your procedure. The bottom line is, a tummy tuck can be risky. Your doctor can employ drainage tubes and prescribe certain medications to help with any tummy tuck side effects you may experience.
VASER Leaves Minimal Scarring Behind
VASER, on the other hand, requires tiny incisions. The procedure takes around an hour or so to complete, and the recovery time is fast. While you may find yourself resting for a few weeks to recover from a full tummy tuck or mini tummy tuck, depending on how extensive your sagging skin happens to be, with VASER Liposuction, you could be back to work before you know it.
Both a tummy tuck and VASER can give you an enviable tummy. However, VASER gives you the scarless tummy tuck, which before now has been unheard of in the industry.
The tummy tuck requires a longer incision while VASER needs a shorter incision. The VASER scars will be there, but they will be hidden to the naked eye, in most cases.
While a tummy tuck can get you ready for swimsuit season in record time, you will be left with a scar. You can minimize the look with the scar by:
- Putting time into finding the best cosmetic surgeon
- Asking plenty of questions about scarring following a tummy tuck
- Adhering to all post-surgery instructions, such as keeping the scar clean
- Applying Vitamin E and sunscreen to the scar while massaging the area for improved blood flow
- And finally, you can opt for cosmetic procedures like surgical revision or a punch graft
The bottom line is that your scar can be minimized. It will be tucked away in your pubic area, which is usually covered.
Don’t focus on the scar a tummy tuck might leave. Focus on the end result: A new you, with a flatter and firmer tummy, and surge of new confidence.
Or you could go with VASER Lipo, the newest way to erase the belly fat without surgery, and without the scars. A scarless tummy tuck that tightens and tones the loose skin on and around your midsection at the same time?
What are you waiting for?
As luck would have it, the best cosmetic surgeon for tummy tucks has an accredited surgical facility near you. Dr. Moein of Moein Surgical Arts is a body contouring specialist and can help you achieve your aesthetic goals. Dr. Moein can minimize scarring so that the eye is drawn to your fabulous new frame. See if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure by calling our office to schedule a virtual consultation.