Can I get an Abdominoplasty with a Vertical Incision Instead of Horizontal?


Dr Bernard Beldholm

A great tummy tuck surgeon knows how to hide scars. Most tummy tuck scars are neatly hidden where you can’t see them. A horizontal scar is usually made on the lower abdomen. While that is standard, there are some exceptions to the rule. Some patients prefer a vertical tummy tuck scar, instead of horizontal. While it’s highly unusual, this article discusses some reasons patients may consider a vertical tummy tuck incision. You’ll also learn a lot more helpful info on tummy tuck scars that you should know before getting surgery.

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Preparing for your Tummy Tuck Surgery

Where is the tummy tuck incision usually placed?

Normally, a tummy tuck scar is placed down low so that it is hidden in the underwear line. There are exceptions, such as the Fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty and reverse tummy tucks. More information on this is provided in the next section. However, in a full tummy tuck, mini tummy tuck, and extended tummy tuck, your surgeon makes a horizontal incision on the lower tummy. That way, you can’t see the tummy tuck scar in clothes.

Hiding tummy tuck scars

While you’ll see tummy tuck scars when you’re naked, clothing, underwear and swimwear should hide tummy tuck scars. This is why it’s important to see an experienced Australia tummy tuck surgeon, such as Dr. Bernard Beldholm. Doctor Bernard takes great care in planning where to place tummy tuck incisions. Fashion trends and personal preferences play a role in tummy tuck scar placement. He will ask you about the styles of clothes you wear during your consultation. Patients may even bring in their favorite swimwear or undergarment styles so he can plan the scar just right.

Planning scar placement

On surgery day, special markings are placed on your tummy with a marker. These marks help Doctor Bernard plan the incisions just right during surgery. You will be awake when he draws on your skin using a colored marker. You’ll have a chance to make adjustments (if needed) during this process. Doctor Bernard knows what he is doing, but your feedback is always welcome. He wants to make sure you’re happy with the tummy tuck scar placement. After all, it’s your body.

Should markings be placed while you’re laying down or standing up?

You should be standing, rather than laying down, when the surgical markings are drawn. This is important because gravity can shift your skin when you’re laying down. Never let a surgeon draw surgical markings for a tummy tuck while you’re laying down.

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Vertical tummy tuck scars

As discussed, most tummy tucks have a horizontal scar on the lower abdomen. There are some cases when vertical tummy tuck scars are used. This is rare, but if you’re interested in learning more about vertical tummy tuck scars, keep reading!

Is a vertical incision possible?

Technically, you can do a tummy tuck with any incision. Most surgeons recommend a horizontal incision on the lower abdomen. The goal is to hide tummy tuck scars where you can’t see them in clothes. Yet a vertical scar may be used in rare cases.

Who should get a vertical tummy tuck incision?

If you have an old scar on your tummy from a past surgery, it may be wise to perform the tummy tuck through the old scar. That way, you won’t have yet another scar on your tummy to deal with.

For example, some patients may have had a laparotomy in the past. This leaves a vertical scar on the tummy. In these cases, a vertical tummy tuck scar makes sense.

A tummy tuck can also improve an old laparotomy scar. If there is something you dislike about a past abdominal surgery scar, Doctor Bernard can make it look better during a tummy tuck procedure. He may perform the tummy tuck through the old incision, tighten loose abdominal skin, then stitch it up neatly.

You’ll still have a scar, but it will look better. In addition to improving the scar, you’ll also no longer have to live with loose belly skin. This provides two great benefits in one surgery.

Can I get a vertical tummy tuck, even if I don’t have an old vertical scar?

If you come in to see Doctor Bernard for a tummy tuck and say your want a vertical cut, and you didn’t have a vertical cut there before, he will likely say no. “It goes against my sensibilities as a surgeon to hide scars,” he says. “I don’t want to put a huge incision in the middle of your tummy when I know it’s a much better look to put it elsewhere”.

Reasons to avoid a vertical tummy tuck incision

The key thing with any cosmetic surgery is to hide the incision. If you don’t have an existing vertical scar on your tummy, then a vertical tummy tuck just doesn’t make sense. Vertical scars are very obvious. Undergarments won’t hide it. You’ll see it in a bikini. Horizontal scars on the lower abdomen, however, are easily hidden in clothes and swimwear.

Different kinds of tummy tuck scars

Most tummy tucks have a horizontal scar. That is true whether you have a mini, full, or extended tummy tuck surgery. Doctor Bernard may do these procedures with a vertical scar if you have an old vertical scar on the abdomen that you want revised. Yet there are also some other types of tummy tucks that have scars elsewhere on the tummy.

What is a Fleur-de-lis tummy tuck?

This tummy tuck has a unique scar. It involves a horizontal incision similar to a regular tummy tuck, plus a vertical incision as well. The scar shape is said to resemble the fleur-de-lis symbol, hence the name. Fleur-de-lis is a French word. Fleur-de-lis in English means lily flower. It is also sometimes spelled “fleur-de-lys”.

In reality, the fleur-de-lis tummy tuck scar looks more like a plus sign (+) on the abdomen.

Why do some people get a fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty if it has twice the scars of a regular tummy tuck? The reason is simple. It removes a lot more loose skin than a traditional tummy tuck.

Most patient don’t need this kind of tummy tuck to get a great result, however. The fleur-de-lis method is designed for patients with a large amount of loose skin after massive weight loss or after having a lot of pregnancies. Keep in mind most weight-loss patients and mums after pregnancy are candidates for a full tummy tuck or extended tummy tuck. Both have just one scar on the lower abdomen, instead of the two scars needed for a fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty.

Reverse abdominoplasty

This tummy tuck method is rare. It does not have a vertical scar. Nor does it have a horizontal scar on the lower abdomen. Instead, the reverse tummy tuck scar is located under the breasts. This tummy tuck technique is for patients that have loose skin on the upper abdomen only. There is no loose skin on the lower abdomen (below the belly button line). Obviously, most patients have loose skin on the lower abdomen as well. That’s why this method is rare.

In a reverse abdominoplasty, a horizontal incision is placed under the breast fold. It continues along the sternum, then below the other breast fold. Skin on the upper tummy is lifted up. Then, the excess skin is trimmed away. While the skin is elevated, your surgeon may perform abdominal muscle repair, if needed. Only loose skin on the upper tummy is removed. Abdominal liposuction may be done on both the upper and lower tummy, though.

Are tummy tuck scars obvious?

All surgery leaves scars — tummy tucks included. There is no such thing as a scarless surgery, despite what a plastic surgery website promises.

Is there such a thing as scarless surgery?

Usually, when surgeons use the term “scarless”, what they really mean is the scars are hidden where you can’t see them. In a closed rhinoplasty, for example, scars are hidden inside the nostrils. In a scarless thyroidectomy, a doctor performs surgery through the mouth so there are no visible scars on the neck. Scarless surgery is also sometimes called “stealth surgery”.

What is a “scarless tummy tuck”?

You may have heard the term “scarless abdominoplasty”. This is not a tummy tuck surgery at all. Surgeons that offer scarless tummy tucks are really offering a laser skin tightening procedure. There are no cuts or incisions.

Scarless tummy tuck vs regular tummy tuck — Which is better?

Laser and energy devices only tighten loose skin a small amount. However, it is not a skin removal procedure. Laser skin tightening won’t cut away skin folds and stretch marks. It won’t get rid of much body fat, either. Finally, abdominal skin tightening lasers cannot repair separated ab muscles. Doctor Bernard’s Lipo-abdominoplasty does all three.

Most women that have loose skin after pregnancy need skin removal surgery. The same goes for patients that have lost a lot of weight with diet, exercise, or weight-loss surgery. While nonsurgical body contouring can help improve your figure, it can’t provide the total body transformation of a tummy tuck.

Hiding tummy tuck scars

Unlike so-called “scarless” surgeries, a tummy tuck is a surgery that comes with an abdominal scar. The scar is visible when you’re not wearing clothes. That’s why a skilled surgeon like Doctor Bernard carefully places the scar so that it is neatly hidden in the underwear line.

What do tummy tuck scars look like?

A tummy tuck scar is placed low on the tummy. The scar is usually made a few inches below the belly button. The exact scar position varies based on your personal preferences and favorite styles of underwear and swimwear. Healed tummy tuck scar pictures often show a long horizontal line somewhere on the lower abdomen.

Tummy tuck scars may appear obvious at first. This is temporary. The scar will have a dark color. In the early stages of healing, the scar is also raised. Over time, scar fading and softening occurs. The tummy tuck scar flattens and becomes less obvious.

A hidden scar is better than dealing with loose skin

While the scar appears dark at first, it fades over time. Ideally, the scar fades to a faint line that is less noticeable. However, you’ll still be able to see the scar, even years later. There is no way to prevent this. For most patients with loose skin, a hidden scar is well worth the tradeoff of a slim, attractive body that looks great in clothes. No more excess skin!

Tummy tuck scar fading over time

It takes 1 to 2 years for tummy tuck scar fading to occur. Mature scars lose pigment and may even become lighter than the surrounding skin. Scar texture is often smoother than the rest of your skin as well. Healed tummy tuck scars fade to a fine line in most cases. Once the tummy tuck scars heal, they won’t be nearly as obvious.

How to lighten tummy tuck scars faster

For those that want to lighten and fade scars fast, you might consider scar laser treatments. LED light therapy and Laser Genesis for scars may help speed scar healing. They work by targeting and destroying dark pigment and redness. This can help your scar look noticeably better. Most abdominoplasty scar fading takes 1 to 2 years to happen.

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30 Belmore Rd
Lorn NSW 2320


This website contains adult content. You must be 18 years or over to read. All surgery carries risks. You should seek a second opinion before proceeding. Results vary from patient to patient. See our disclaimer.
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