As one of the most requested plastic surgeries year after year, tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it removes excess skin and fat after weight loss or pregnancy, and secondly, it corrects abdominal muscle laxity. Despite its popularity and high patient satisfaction, abdominoplasty does present a drawback for some people in the form of a significant scar.
Because a large amount of skin and tissue is typically removed with the procedure, a long incision is required, resulting in a scar after surgery.
Our board-certified plastic surgeons at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg are experts in performing tummy tucks in Virginia and highly skilled at placing the scar so that it is well hidden, even when the patient wears a skimpy bikini or underwear.
With a tummy tuck, you can expect a scar. However, you can take steps to reduce its visibility both before and after your surgery.
Before Your Surgery
During your consultation with your surgeon, you should share any concerns you may have, especially about the appearance of your scar after your surgery. Depending on your surgery, you may end up with a U- or V-shaped scar, and there could also be a small scar around your belly button. You may also have a scar extending vertically from your belly button down to the horizontal incision in rare cases.
Bring underwear or bikini bottoms to your appointment so you can get a clear understanding of where the scar will be placed. During surgery, your surgeon will make a long, thin incision just above the pubic area, typically located where bathing suits or undergarments will hide it.
After Your Surgery
Apart from diligently following all of the aftercare instructions provided by your surgeon, the five tips outlined in this article should also help you to treat and fade your tummy tuck scar.
One of the reasons your incision results in scar tissue is that your body creates collagen fibers to fill the scar and close it, building up at the wound site and protecting and strengthening the affected area.
Over the 3-6 months following your surgery, the blood supply to the area increases, and with the increase in collagen, the new scar becomes darker, thicker, and more prominent. As a result, you can expect your scars to appear darker, more textured, and generally worse before they get better, making it even more important to follow the tips outlined below.
Apply topical vitamin E
When applied topically, Vitamin E (100 percent pure) is known to improve the appearance of scars. Regular application can also help keep the scar moisturized and be applied at least once a day for the first 2-3 months. Continue using this oil to massage the scar tissue once it has healed, stimulating the blood flow.
If you experience any skin irritation or allergic reaction to the vitamin E oil, discontinue use and consult your doctor.
Don’t forget the sunscreen
Even though your scar may be covered by clothing, it’s essential that you use sunscreen to protect the area for at least a year after your surgery. If you can, avoid exposing the scar to the sun. Since scars are made of new skin, they react differently to the sun than normal skin.
Using an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen explicitly made for scars will prevent your scar from becoming darker than the surrounding skin and more visible.
Watch for signs of infection
It’s vital that you clean your incision daily. Keeping your scar clean and healthy reduces its appearance and will also reduce your risk of infection.
What else can you if you still experience scarring?
While your scar will be mostly healed after about 12 weeks, it can take up to a year for it to fully heal, after which you can decide if you want to undergo any of the additional procedures mentioned below to minimize its appearance. These methods won’t altogether remove the scar, but they can help to improve its color and texture and reduce its size.
Steroid applications and injections
On your doctor’s advice, you may be able to use steroid applications or injections to reduce raised, thick, or red scars. Treatment with these techniques may be used for scar prevention from the time of surgery or four weeks following surgery.
Vascular lasers selectively target unwanted or abnormal blood vessels in the skin and shrink the tiny blood vessels on the surface of the skin of the scar that causes redness. Laser surfacing is another option to improve the texture and color of scars since it can resurface the skin. In the process, scarred skin is replaced with healthy collagen, which improves the overall texture and color.
Your doctor at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg will advise you how long you should wait before beginning laser treatment, especially since the treatments are expensive and require two or more sessions over the course of a few months.
Surgical scar revision
Scar revision surgery is an option your doctor might use to bring your scar closer in tone and texture to your normal skin by using a combination of topical treatments, minimally invasive procedures, and surgical revision. The scar will still be visible, but it will be less conspicuous.
As with laser treatment, you should check with your doctor to see how long you should wait after your tummy tuck before having scar revision surgery. You may be advised to wait at least a year to first see how your scar is healing.
Need More Help from the Plastic Surgeons in Fredericksburg, Virginia?
Should you need more help with fading that tummy tuck scar, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg. Our team is committed to providing each patient with an optimal outcome with natural-looking results, including your tummy tuck scars. Please contact or call us at (540) 371-7730.