Tummy Tuck Scars: What to expect?


Medically Reviewed April 2023, by George Samouris - Consultant Aesthetic Plastic Surgeon

If you’re considering abdominoplasty (or a tummy tuck) to remove excess skin following significant weight loss or pregnancy, it is important to know what to expect in terms of scarring. Read on to discover more about abdominoplasty scarring and what can be done to reduce scar visibility.

As with any surgery, over time the scar will fade and become less noticeable but will not disappear entirely. So it is important that the benefits of the procedure have been weighed up against the impact of scarring to ensure that the surgery will be worthwhile. There are some important factors to consider in preparation for surgery that can minimise scarring, most notably is the skill and experience of the surgeon. At The Harley Medical Group our surgeons are experts in the use of surgical techniques that minimise scarring.

Tummy tuck vs mini tummy tuck

Regardless of the type of tummy tuck surgery performed, incisions must be made in the skin and this will cause scarring. However, there are some differences that depend on the surgical technique used, the patient’s goals and partially on genetics.

In mini tummy tuck surgery a single incision is placed in the lower abdomen, just below what would be considered the waist line. The incision is smaller than in full abdominoplasty and is therefore more easily concealed and can even be undetectable after the full recovery period.

When it comes to full tummy tuck surgery, larger incisions across more sites are needed to remove sufficient excess skin to achieve the patient’s desired outcome. The procedure involves making a relatively large incision across the trunk from hip to hip in the bikini line. Incisions may also be made around the belly button and possibly vertically along the trunk if necessary.

What to expect from a healed tummy tuck scar

Throughout the recovery process, the appearance of a tummy tuck scar changes, starting off as a red or deep pink colour as blood supply to the area is increased, moving towards a thinner line of a colour that more closely resembles the skin tone of the patient. Scar fading continues for up to 2 years after surgery and scars are unlikely to change further after this point. Click here to discover more about tummy tuck recovery.

How to fade a tummy tuck scar

Before making the decision to undergo tummy tuck surgery, it is crucial to realise that scarring is not only expected, but almost guaranteed. Whilst this is true, there are certainly things that can be done to minimise scarring as much as possible, we have compiled a list of examples here:

  1. Follow the advice provided by your surgeon regarding postoperative care – This is the single most important step you can take in taking control over your recovery and the extent of scarring. If recommended, make sure you wear your compression garment as directed to optimise wound healing.
  2. Stop smoking at least 6 weeks before surgery – Smoking has a significant impact on the body’s ability to heal and also increases susceptibility to infection.
  3. Avoid sun exposure and apply SPF once you are permitted to do so - UV damage can hinder the wound healing process and lead to more extensive scarring. Even once the recovery process is complete, careful attention should be paid to scar tissue to avoid sun damage. Therefore SPF should always be applied to the area when the skin is exposed, or the area should be kept covered with clothing if possible.
  4. Ensure you eat the recommended daily allowance of protein – Protein plays a crucial role in the wound healing process, so be sure to eat 0.8 g of protein per Kg of bodyweight.
  5. Avoid irritating ointments, lotions and creams during the healing process - Applying anything not recommended in your aftercare program can cause irritation, itching and skin softening that may lead to reopening of the incision.

If you are considering abdominoplasty to remove excess skin and refresh your sense of self-confidence, you can discover more by booking a free no-obligation consultation with a patient advisor today. You can also browse our website for more information on the tummy tuck process for men and women, learn more about our surgeons and view our gallery of before and after images.

Posted May 19, 2022
Book a free consultationRequest a callback
Registered in England No. 12325705. Vat No. 339266281