Will Tummy Tuck Surgery Leave Scars?

Written by Timothy McGee, MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon on December 9, 2019 5 Comments

tummy tuck scars

Tummy tuck surgery is one of the most transformative plastic surgery procedures since it dramatically transforms the appearance of an individual’s entire silhouette. The procedure involves the creation of several incisions along the abdomen to allow a surgeon the ability to tighten loose muscles and surgically excise excess fat and skin.

While the results are dramatic, tummy tuck procedures (like all surgical procedures) can result in permanent scars, the extent of which can differ by the type of abdominoplasty technique used. However, skilled plastic surgeons will place their incisions in locations where any resulting scarring is minimally visible. Also, most scars tend to fade on their own, appearing as faint lines. There are also numerous post-procedure scar removal treatments that can also reduce the visibility of scarring.

Here’s everything you need to know about tummy tuck surgery and scars:

Scar Size Depends on Technique Used

There are many different types of tummy tuck techniques, each of which differ in their level of invasiveness. Techniques that are more invasive provide a more dramatic result as they can address higher amounts of lax muscle, excess fat, and loose skin. More invasive techniques, however, equate to the increased potential for larger and more visible scarring.

Mini Tummy Tuck: A mini tummy tuck is the least invasive version of the tummy tuck, removing only a very little bit of excess skin or providing a limited measure of muscle tightening. Mini tummy tucks result in a scar that is only a little longer than a normal C-section scar placed below the belly button.

Traditional Tummy Tuck: A traditional or standard tummy tuck is more invasive and can involve the repositioning of the belly button. Most patients will have a scar from hip to hip as well as a scar around their belly button.

Extended Tummy Tuck: A circumferential lower body lift (extended tummy tuck) addresses the full abdomen as well as the hips and lower back. This is a common procedure for individuals dealing with excessive loose skin and lax muscles after significant weight loss. These patients may be left with a fairly large upside down “T” shaped scar across the entire abdomen.

Tummy Tuck Scars Can Be Placed to Minimize Their Appearance

Many skilled tummy tuck surgeons will consciously place their incisions in areas to minimize scar visibility. Often this means the incisions are made below the bikini or underwear line to allow patients to hide their scars even while wearing a revealing bathing suit or lingerie. We encourage all prospective tummy tuck patients to talk at great length about scarring and scar placement with their surgeon prior to undergoing the procedure.

Scar Treatment Options

Scars are an unavoidable part of life and they can manifest any time there is damage or trauma to the skin. Fortunately, most scars will fade into thin, faint lines over time. There are also some great treatment options that can effectively minimize the appearance of scars that do not fade on their own. Proven treatments include intralesional steroid therapy, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments, laser skin resurfacing, microneedling, and scar revision procedures.

More Resources on Scars

Timothy McGee, MD

Dr. McGee has been practicing plastic surgery for more than 18 years in all areas of the field, including cosmetic surgery and reconstructive breast and facial surgery. Dr. McGee is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. He has numerous hospital affiliations in the Round Rock and greater Austin areas and is a member of the American Society of plastic Surgeons, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American College of Surgeons and Austin Smiles.

5 Responses to “Will Tummy Tuck Surgery Leave Scars?”

  1. Avatar Tori says:

    It’s helpful that you said scar size depends on the technique used to do it. I want to get a tummy tuck before summer. I want to be able to wear a bathing suit confidently.

  2. Avatar Penelope says:

    I already have a C-section scar and my surgeon said he could place my tummy tuck incisions so it masks any scarring from that procedure. Super excited about it!!!

  3. Plastic surgery relies upon the absorption by hemoglobin and melanin, it can work on skin discolorations that are red or brown. It may be effective in patients with dark spots redness ,dilated blood vessels, and aged skin.

  4. Avatar Frida says:

    Skilled plastic surgeons will place their incisions in locations where any resulting scarring is minimally visible. It’s really not as bad as you will think. Mine are easily hidden by bikini or underwear.

  5. Avatar Dr. Yarish says:

    The incision for a tummy tuck is made along the lower abdomen, and there may be a visible scar following surgery. However, the scar is easily concealed behind most swimwear and undergarments, and its appearance may be minimized with proper aftercare during recovery. Laser treatments can also reduce the appearance of the scar and accelerate healing.

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