Is that extra fat and skin on your tummy driving you crazy every time you get dressed? Perhaps you’ve thought of doing something about it for a long time, but you are concerned about scarring. Today, we will cover how long it takes for tummy tuck scars to heal and view real tummy tuck scar progress photos.
Types of tummy tucks
Different types of tummy tucks have different scars.
This surgery is made for patients who feel that the lower abdominal skin is too loose. They are not so worried about the upper abdomen. MIni tummy tucks are popular with women after pregnancy, especially women who have had C-section births. The flap of skin that’s left behind on the lower belly can be a nuisance.
Unlike most other kinds of tummy tucks, only a small pooch of fat and skin is removed. Therefore, the navel does not need to be repositioned. The surgery leaves a small tummy tuck scar. The scar appears as a thin, curved line above the pubic bone.
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Full tummy tuck
Many patients wish to have a full tummy tuck after substantial weight loss or pregnancy. Doctor Bernard’s favorite technique is the VASER lipo-abdominoplasty. The surgery removes fat and loose skin on the upper and lower abdomen, along with the benefits of VASER.
The scar is longer than that of the mini tummy tuck. A full tummy tuck also requires umbilical repositioning. Dr. Beldholm will hide those scars inside your navel so that they are less obvious.
This surgery is suitable for patients who are post major weight loss. This surgery removes extra fat and skin on the abdomen, extending around toward the flanks, since losing so much weight can leave a lot of undesirable loose skin hanging in those areas. The scar appears as a long horizontal line that curves around the hips and flanks, depending on how much skin and fat needs to be removed.
This is for patients who need a substantial amount of skin and fat removed. Candidates for the fleur-de-lis tummy tuck are usually people who have reached major weight loss goals with bariatric surgery or other means. The scars are less able to be hidden compared to other kinds of tummy tucks. Surgery leaves a vertical and horizontal scar, which is what gives it its namesake (fleur-de-lis).
A body lift is tailored to your specific body contouring needs by addressing areas beyond the tummy, such as the flanks, hips, and upper thighs. Depending on where the patient has excess skin and fat, they may decide to undergo either a lower, mid, or upper body lift.
The incision goes around the waist, across the lower tummy, and around the patient’s back. The final incision placement ultimately varies based on the patient’s specific needs. Surgery leaves visible scars that will fade over time. Dr. Bernard Beldholm carefully places each scar in the least obvious areas possible.
Scar healing 101
Surgical scars heal in stages. Tummy tuck scars will gradually lighten over time.
Right after surgery
Scars may look red and angry. There will be swelling and inflammation, and even a bit of oozing. This is normal. Keeping the scar clean at this stage is important to avoid infection. Doctor Bernard will provide you with aftercare instructions to ensure your incisions heal nicely. Each day that passes will get better. This is what scars look like at day 7 after surgery.
1 month post-op
The scar will usually be dark red or brown at this point, depending on your skin tone. The scar may feel raised, swollen, or even lumpy at this stage. It is still early on in healing.
3 months post-op
The scar will still be red at three months post-op. However, you will likely notice that any swelling, puffiness, or lumps in the scar have begun to subside. This leaves a flatter scar.
It is still red because your body’s inflammatory response and healing factors are still at play. The skin is rebuilding collagen fibers to continue healing the wound and repair the skin. This takes time. Blood flow also increases to the incision site after surgery so that nutrients and oxygen, both of which are essential for healing, can do their job.
6 months post-op
It is normal for scars to still be visible at 6 months post-op, but at this stage, many patients notice the scar beginning to fade and lose pigment. Dark red scars will gradually lighten to rosy pink or soft brown. Much of the skin healing has occurred by this stage. Have a look at this video to see the patient at 6 months post-op.
Tummy tuck scars over time
Tummy tuck scars usually take 1-2 years for scar lightening to occur. This can take longer in younger patients. Mature scars usually fade to a pale white line in patients with fair skin. Darker skin tones may result in a more pigmented scar. The scar should look smoother as it matures so that it blends better with the nearby skin.
A good tummy tuck scar blends reasonably well with the skin around it, but all surgeries leave scars if you look closely. That is why Dr. Beldholm plans scar placement carefully so that they are able to be hidden by underwear and clothing when possible.
This is what tummy tuck scars after 1 year look like
A picture is worth a thousand words. A video is even better. Take a look at this video to see the patient’s tummy tuck 1 year scar progress. Note that as more years go by, the scars will look even better. Remember, scar healing is a process that takes time.