Minimizing Scars from a Tummy Tuck: Five Strategies

Tummy tuck procedures have come a long way since their invention. Patients are seeing these benefits through procedures that are safer, look better, and heal faster, including leaving less scarring that makes it obvious you’ve had a procedure done.

As a general rule, your surgeon will try to make the incision as low on the abdomen as possible, so that the scar is covered by up your clothing. However, patients who are thinner and have less loose skin will require the incision to be made higher up on the abdomen. Surgeons usually use dissolving sutures and special techniques to reduce the scarring and improve the final results, but some scarring is inevitable.

So, while some small amount of scarring is a necessary part of the procedure, here are five things you can do to keep scarring to a minimum:

1. Follow the recovery plan to a T. The plan given to you by your doctor is designed to help you heal as quickly and effectively as possible. Faster healing with no complications usually means a less prominent scar, so do everything in your power to follow the instructions exactly.

2. Don’t overexert yourself. Be particularly careful about following your doctor’s instructions on postoperative physical exercise and restrictions on heavy lifting. These activities risk the surgical wound opening back up, which could lead to longer recovery time, infection, or worsen the scarring.

3. Don’t smoke. If you were a smoker before the procedure, this is the perfect opportunity to quit. Not smoking is likely a part of your doctor’s recovery instructions anyway. Smoking slows down the healing process and could accentuate the look of your scar.

4. Keep your scar out of the sun. During the healing process, the sun’s UV rays can make scars appear darker against the background of your skin. On the other hand, scars tend to fade if kept out of the sun. If your scar is in an exposed area, use sunscreen with SPF 30 everyday. Wearing protective clothing, such as a hat, is also helpful. Following these tips will help you reduce the appearance of scars.

5. Talk to your doctor about laser scar removal. After your scar has healed completely, if you’re still not happy with the way it looks, you may have the option to get a laser treatment to minimize its appearance. Discuss this with your surgeon before moving forward with any such treatment.

And remember, scars frequently appear at their worst a few weeks after the procedure but usually show improvement after about six months. Be patient, and speak to your doctor if you have any questions about the healing process.