All surgeries involve incisions, which will eventually become scars. Still, with the proper care and great tips, the spot from your tummy tuck surgery can be reduced to a point where it is barely noticeable. A flatter belly, narrower waist, tighter core, and the removal of excess skin around the abdomen can do wonders for a person’s body and self-confidence.
While the excitement of finally achieving the fitter shape you’ve worked hard to achieve can be dampened by the scar left behind from surgery, there are ways to improve the scar’s appearance. With the help of board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Josh Waltzman, you’ll be able to focus on enjoying your abdominoplasty results and spend less time worrying about how your scar looks in a bathing suit or a cute pair of underwear.
A tummy tuck will leave a scar slightly above the pubic bone, about five to eight inches long. The scar typically extends from one hip to the other, depending on how extensive the procedure is. The scar can be easily hidden by underwear or bikini bottoms. Additionally, the belly button will need to be relocated during a tummy tuck to make the results appear more natural, which can result in a scar around the natural borders of the naval, though it is nicely hidden.
A scar is any mark or blemish caused by the skin healing over a wound. Whenever the skin is broken, whether by incision or trauma, your body creates collagen fibers to bind it; this process generally takes about three to four weeks. As the collagen builds around the wound area, protecting and strengthening the border, the scar can become darker, thicker, and more prominent.
Once enough collagen has formed, some will break down and the blood supply will decrease. As a result, the scar becomes lighter, thinner, flatter, and less visible. This process can take up to two years.
You should expect your scar to look darker and textured at first. Scars generally appear worse before they appear better, but try not to feel discouraged as the scar should improve over time. Scarred skin always looks different from the surrounding skin in that it can be slightly raised, darker, and appear stretched. Fortunately, there are ways to care for your tummy tuck scar to improve its appearance and help it to fade faster.
Follow Your Surgeon’s Care Instructions
Immediately after your tummy tuck procedure, Dr. Waltzman will give you detailed instructions on how to care for your incision site. These instructions will include hygiene and wound care to help your incision heal properly and prevent irregular scarring. It is crucial that you refrain from picking, disturbing, or scratching the incision while it is in its healing process.
Monitor for Infection
An infected wound will appear dark red, swollen, and sensitive and may leak a white or greenish fluid. It’s essential to alert Dr. Waltzman immediately if any signs of infection begin to appear. Then, Dr. Waltzman can treat the condition with antibiotics, topical creams, and instructions on how to care for an infected incision. These steps will help to prevent prominent scarring and discomfort from an infected wound.
Apply Topical Treatments
Once the incision is no longer protected by a scab, which you should under no circumstance disturb or pick, you can start applying topical creams. The best products to use contain silicone, which replicates the occlusion properties of the outer layer of skin so that hydration of the scar is normalized, and collagen production can be slowed or stopped.
Following your surgical procedure at Waltzman Plastic Surgery, you will be given a 3 month supply of Biocorneum® Advanced Scar Treatment to reduce the appearance of scars and keep the skin intact, flexible, and comfortable while the scar is healing.
Be sure to track your scars recovering during your post operative appointments and discuss topical creams or gels with Dr. Waltzman during recovery appointments to find the best options.
Quit Smoking and Drinking During Recovery
You’ll be required to quit smoking at least six weeks before your procedure, and you’ll also be required to stop smoking for at least six weeks while you recover. Nicotine in cigarettes can hinder proper blood flow, prevent wounds from healing correctly, and can even lead to infections. On the same note, alcohol can dehydrate your organs, especially your skin. So instead, drink plenty of water to flush away toxins and stop drinking alcoholic beverages until you are fully healed.
Stay Away from the Sun and Sun Tanning Lotions
UV exposure can make scars darker and thicker, so keep your scar covered at all times with sunscreen or protective clothing. In addition, suntan lotions can cause the darker pigmented skin to appear even darker, so avoid tanning your incision with these lotions to avoid making them appear darker.
A tummy tuck allows you to remake or reclaim your figure after weight loss or pregnancy. However, it’s a significant transformation requiring the talent, skill, and technique of a skilled plastic surgeon like Dr. Josh Waltzman. To learn more about how he performs tummy tuck surgeries and if you’re a good candidate, schedule your consultation by calling (562) 448-6100 or by completing our online contact form today!