One of the most common plastic surgery procedures performed all over the world is the tummy tuck (also known as abdominoplasty). It is ideal for patients who have excess skin and tissue in the abdominal area. Tummy tuck operation also addresses the separated abdominal wall muscles that can occur after weight fluctuations and pregnancy. If you are considering a tummy tuck, it would be necessary to understand the incision scar that will linger after surgery, along with discussing the advantages of the operation and the estimated recovery period with your surgeon.
Types of tummy tuck incisions
Most generally, incisions for a tummy tuck range from hip bone to hip bone as well as a small incision around the button of the abdomen. This helps all of the tissue below and just above the belly button to be removed by the surgeon and it will also eliminate any stretch marks in that area. The belly button is brought out through a new opening but stays in its original place on the abdominal wall. These additional incisions are very small and usually made in a region of tissue to be extracted if liposuction is part of the treatment.
For those that have slight excess skin or roundness that is limited to the region just below the belly button, the mini tummy tuck is best. This can be done with a shorter incision – often the same length or a bit longer than a typical C-section scar. For a mini tummy tuck, the incision and healing are always less than that of a more conventional abdominoplasty.
For patients with a lot of excess skin due to multiple pregnancies or a large amount of weight loss, an extended incision may be recommended. Laxity and excess tissue that stretches both horizontally and vertically can be present in patients that have successfully lost weight with gastric bypass or diet and exercise in excess of 100lbs. The procedure is sometimes referred to as a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck. It requires a vertical incision from the lower breastbone to the pubic bone, in addition to the usual tummy tuck incision. The final scar will resemble a large upside-down T.
Caring for your incision to minimize scarring
It is important to check the aftercare program of your plastic surgeon, no matter what incisional you intend to have for your tummy tuck, so that your incision heals with the best possible scar. At the time of surgery, most surgeons use surgical glue and sterile strips or paper tape. After two weeks, they can move you to a scar cream and some will add laser therapy to optimize scar remodeling after surgery. To help your scar heal to its best potential, it will be necessary to keep your incision out of the direct sun and use sunscreen for the first few months after surgery. It’s going to take a full year for the scar to disappear completely.