If you are interested in getting a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), there is a good chance that you have concerns about scars after tummy tuck surgery. It is important to understand that scarring is inevitable with every major surgery, and abdominoplasty is no exception. However, there are ways that both you and your surgeon can help minimize tummy tuck scars so that you can enjoy the best possible results after tummy tuck surgery.
After tummy tuck surgery, you can minimize your tummy tuck scars by reducing sun exposure, wearing sunscreen, using silicone treatments, and giving the scar a gentle massage when applying silicone cream. These are the best things to do for scar management after a tummy tuck.
Tummy Tuck Scar Location
When performing abdominoplasty, your surgeon will place a surgical incision in your abdomen to access the muscles of the stomach wall for mending, tightening, and firming your waistline. This incision is also where excess skin will be removed to give you a flatter and smoother abdomen. Although the surgery leaves a scar, the removal of excess skin can also eliminate many stretch marks from pregnancy or weight loss, granting an overall cleaner look with just one straight, defined, horizontal incision scar rather than a series of jumbled, jagged, vertical stretch mark scars.
As a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Aycock is specially trained to disguise the tummy tuck scar and place it in a location where it will be the least noticeable. She will place the horizontal incision low in the abdomen, between the hips and near the pubic line. The resulting scar will be completely hidden by most clothing so that you will never have to worry about the scar being visible to the public eye. Dr. Aycock is also well trained and experienced in closing surgical incisions so that the skin is lined up flat, giving your body the best chance for minimal scarring after abdominoplasty.
How Healing Influences Scar Formation
Every individual has unique biological factors that influence healing. When healing skin wounds (like surgical incisions), some people naturally produce more scar tissue while others produce less. You cannot control how much scar tissue your makes. Unless you have experienced poor scarring with a previous surgery or injury, you may also be unable to predict how your scar might look after your tummy tuck.
In general, most patients can expect a similar experience. For the first 6 to 8 weeks after your tummy tuck, your incision scar will become increasingly stronger, thicker, and redder. This happens to every surgical patient and is part of a healthy biological response as your body makes new tissue to heal the incision site. Around this 6 to 8-week mark, your scar should reach maximum thickness and redness.
If your abdominoplasty scar is becoming unusually thick, lumpy, and/or raised up, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We can administer an in-office injection to help your scar heal better. But if your scar is generally flat and red, it is healing as it should. Over the following year or so, your body will gradually remodel the scar, making it softer, less noticeable, and white or browner. As more years pass, the scar should progressively fade away until it is hardly noticeable.
What’s the Best Thing to Do for Tummy Tuck Scars?
Even though you cannot change how much scar tissue your body produces, there are ways you can help your body heal so that your scar after tummy tuck surgery will look as inconspicuous as possible.
Reduce Sun Exposure to Minimize Tummy Tuck Scars
There is substantial scientific evidence that the sun can powerfully affect scar appearance. To prevent UV rays from darkening your scar tissue, keep your scar covered. For the first few weeks after surgery this will be easy, as your scar will be covered with tape or steri strips. After these are removed, take extra care to keep your scar covered by sunscreen and/or clothing whenever you go outside, even on cloudy or rainy days. Bear in mind that the sun can penetrate through a bathing suit and some clothing, so it is especially important during the first year to reduce sun exposure for your tummy tuck scar.
Use Silicone Treatment for Tummy Tuck Scars
Silicone treatments are scientifically proven to improve scar formation, and they are strongly recommended by Dr. Aycock. When used for the first 3 months or so after plastic or reconstructive surgery, they can greatly minimize surgical scars. There are many different silicone products for all budgets and preferences, of which Dr. Aycock can offer a few recommendations.
For a high-quality silicone cream that includes sunscreen, Dr. Aycock recommends BioCorneum. BioCorneum should be applied twice a day for at least 3 months after surgery. Another effective silicone cream that does not include sunscreen is Kelo-cote, which should be applied in the same fashion. Lastly, Dr. Aycock can recommend a tape called Mepitac, which should be kept on the scar continuously (24/7) for 3 months after surgery.
Using silicone scar treatment for tummy tuck scars is a tried and true method of scar management. You can also help reduce scarring by performing a gentle massage of the scar tissue each time you apply silicone cream.
Other Treatments for Tummy Tuck Scars
Minimizing sun exposure and using silicone treatments are the only scientifically proven scar treatments. Other treatments such as Mederma, vitamin E, and cocoa butter are popular home remedies that you can safely try as long as you have no allergy to them and your incisions are fully closed and healed, with no remaining scabs. Nonetheless, there is no scientific evidence that they work in minimizing scars.
Don’t let concerns about tummy tuck scars prevent you from undergoing this procedure. If you want to flatten your tummy, improve your waistline, and enhance your body contours, Dr. Aycock can help you achieve excellent tummy tuck results with minimal scarring.To learn more about tummy tuck surgery, book your appointment with Dr. Joyce Aycock. Call 720-634-7400 or contact us online today.