Improve Abdominoplasty Scars with PICO Negative Pressure Dressings


Dr Bernard Beldholm

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.

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What is PICO?

PICO dressing used in 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 at 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 at 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 an improved 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 dressing

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.

Download our short guide: “Preparing for your Abdominoplasty Surgery Checklist”

Preparing for your Tummy Tuck Surgery

How to reduce tummy tuck scars

Many factors affect how tummy tuck scars. 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 your scar. Wound dressings can sometimes be an afterthought, but they can make a huge difference to the final appearance of tummy tuck scars.

Wound dressings influence scar healing.

The choice of dressing can affect how your scar appears. In Dr. Bernard Beldholm’s experience, PICO dressings improves scar as compared to normal wound dressings.

Starting around 2014, Doctor Bernard upgraded 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 improved scars.

Early wound healing affects how scars heal.

Scars take time to lighten and mature.

While it can take more than one year for tummy tuck scars to fade, early healing right after surgery greatly affects how the scar will appear. PICO dressings can help reduce your scars as much as possible.

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 is 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,
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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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