Make Tummy Tuck Scars Look Better with PICO Negative Pressure Dressings

Reducing tummy tuck scars is very important for a good result. We know that bad tummy tuck scars can be caused by infection, picking at or touching the wound, and sun exposure during healing. However, the wound dressings your surgeon chooses after surgery also make a big difference in how well the scar heals.

While many surgeons use simple wound dressings, PICO negative pressure dressings offer advanced technology to help tummy tuck scars heal more attractively and reduce post-op complications such as infection.

What is PICO?

PICO dressing for tummy tuck patient
PICO uses negative pressure wound therapy (nPwT) to remove fluid buildup from wounds in order to promote healing. The device uses AIRLOCK Technology to evenly distributes pressure for better fluid management, which helps improve wound recovery.1According to the manufacturer, this can result in a better scar after surgery while reducing post-op complications.1

How does it work?

PICO Dressing Being removed day 7
The PICO device is a soft dressing that uses gentle battery-powered suction to create pressure on the wound as it heals. There is a switch that turns on the battery and begins creating suction (aka negative pressure) throughout the soft dressing. The suction also may increase blood flow to the wound. Blood circulation is key to promoting wound healing because blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to the wound site. This may also assist in helping the wound heal properly.

How does PICO compare to normal wound dressings?

PICO dressing day 3
Normal wound dressings simply cover a wound. The incision is left to heal on its own, relying on the body to do all the work. Meanwhile, PICO negative pressure dressings remove excess fluid from the wound to improve healing. It also has a unique layer inside the bandage that is designed to trap bacteria. This can result in a better-looking scar. PICO wound dressings are also highly absorbent compared to basic dressing materials.

PICO is better than standard wound dressings for several reasons

Set up to replace PICO dressings
PICO dressings may be easier to remove than other types of dressings. Gentle silicone adhesive protects the skin and reduces pain on removal.1 Tests have shown that the AIRLOCK layer in PICO dressings traps up to 99.9 percent of bacteria, which helps keep your tummy tuck free from infection as it heals.1 The bandage also reduces swelling1, which is ideal for tummy tuck recovery since the area will be swollen at first.

For more information on how PICO technology improves wound healing, visit the manufacturer’s website.

How to reduce tummy tuck scars

Many factors affect how tummy tuck scars look after surgery. For example, it is very important how your surgeon closes the wound. The decision to use clips vs. barb stitches is a big deal when it comes to scar appearance. However, the wound dressing also affects how your scar looks. Wound dressings can sometimes be an afterthought, but they can make a huge difference to give you the best tummy tuck scars possible.

Wound dressings influence scar healing

It is often overlooked, but the choice of dressing can affect how your scar looks. In Dr. Bernard Beldholm’s experience, PICO dressings give a significantly better-looking scar than normal wound dressings.

Starting around 2014, Doctor Bernard chose to upgrade the wound dressings for his tummy tuck patients. Over the next five years, he noticed that the quality of his patients’ scars improved by using higher-quality dressings. By 2018, he felt certain that better wound dressings indeed resulted in better scars. He later upgraded to PICO negative pressure dressings. In Doctor Bernard’s medical opinion, PICO dressings seem to give patients better-looking scars.

Early wound healing affects how scars look when they heal

The scar will be the only trace left behind after surgery. That is why reducing scars after a tummy tuck is so important. The palest and least obvious scar is most desirable. Most patients are in a rush for scars to fade. However, scars take time to lighten and mature.

While it can take more than one year for tummy tuck scars to fade, the more it fades, the better it looks. Early healing right after surgery makes a big difference to how the scar will look. PICO dressings can help reduce your scars as much as possible.

In this video, Dr. Beldholm gives tips for how to lighten tummy tuck scars using the best scar treatments available, such as LED light therapy and Doctor Bernard’s favorite, Laser Genesis.

Changing the wound dressing

Preventing infection is very important for getting a good scar. Wound dressings need to be changed regularly to keep the wound clean. PICO dressings should be changed at 7 days post op and also at 1 month post-op.

Video of PICO dressing application

Check out this video to see Dr. Beldholm change the PICO dressings on a real patient. This video shows what tummy tuck scars look like one week after surgery and also one month after surgery.

Seven days after surgery, you will come in to see Doctor Bernard for a dressing change. Lying back comfortably, he will gently remove the old PICO dressing. As you will see in the video, the wound has healed rather nicely at this point.

Once the dressing is removed, a fresh PICO bandage will be placed over the wound. The PICO device is then turned on. You will feel a slight (but not painful) pulling sensation as the device creates gentle pressure on the skin. Three weeks later, you’ll come in to have the dressing changed.

PICO care and maintenance

Find out more about caring for PICO dressings in this helpful PDF guide. This guide answers common questions such as can you get PICO dressings wet and more useful information from the manufacturer.


  1. “PICO.” Smith & Nephew,