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What Type of Scars to Expect After You Get a Tummy Tuck
Tummy Tuck Flattens the Abdomen
What is a Tummy Tuck?
In the world of cosmetic surgery, a tummy tuck is referred to as “abdominoplasty” which is an operational procedure designed to make the abdomen flatter and more firm. When a cosmetic surgeon performs abdominoplastic surgery, he or she removes excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen. By removing skin and fat from these areas, the muscle and fibrous tissue of the abdominal wall become lighter, thus eliminating the sagging skin formerly seen in the abdominal area.
Types of Tummy Tucks
There are various types of tummy tucks, each depending on the degree of skin and muscle involved. Generally, when considering a tummy tuck, the following two types of tummy tucks are the primary considerations.
1. Complete abdominoplasty – the incision is made from hip to hip just above the pubic area and another incision is made to release the navel from the surrounding skin in order to reposition the navel.
2. Partial abdominoplasty – a smaller incision than with the complete abdominoplasty, the belly button stalk is cut from the muscle and a little liposuction is used to aid in contouring the abdominal area.
There are many variations of the tummy tuck that provide advanced enhancement of the overall look of the abdominal region. Some of the more advanced techniques include incisions that involve the upper thigh or buttocks and other areas to give the patient the most proficient results. In all of these procedures, there will be a scar as a result of the operation.
Types of Scars Associated With Tummy Tucks
While there are other risks and considerations regarding tummy tucks, the primary focus of this title is regarding the types of scars you can expect when you undergo a tummy tuck.
Keloid scars – Keloid scars are scars that are raised scars. Keloids are scars that appear red or darker in color than the normal skin color. Keloids are formed from collagen that the body produces after the wound has healed. Anyone can suffer from keloid scars, however, keloid scars appear most often in darker-skinned people. They can be painful and sometimes so painful that they limit full mobility.
Track marks – Track marks are caused by the suture (thread lines) used to close the tummy tuck incision.
The patient must be aware that tummy tuck scars are permanent scars, however, most tummy tuck scars are horizontal scars located in the lower abdomen, hidden beneath what we refer to as the bikini line (that area below the belly button and just above the pubic area). The length of the incision depends on how much tissue is being removed. Expect the tummy tuck scar to worsen over a period of 3 to 6 months before it starts to get better. Typically, between 36 weeks to one year after surgery the scar may become flattened and the color will become lighter. But, know this for a fact – the tummy tuck scar will never completely disappear. After the surgical tapes are removed there are several things that can be done to heal and minimize the tummy tuck scar.
Tips to Heal Tummy Tuck Scars
Corticosteroid Injections – For keloid scars, corticosteroid injections are injected into the scar to reduce inflammation and to flatten the tummy tuck scar. If necessary, the injection may be repeated over a period of months, possibly two to three injections per month over a period of about six months.
Cryotherapy – Keloid scars can be removed by cryotherapy, which is a type of therapy that involves the use of nitrogen to freeze away the scar tissue.
Silicone Gel Sheets – The patient should ask their doctor or pharmacist about Silicone Gels and Sheeting. These products are only to be used to healed scars and not applied to open tummy tuck wounds. They are to be worn over the tummy tuck scar for 12 to 24 hours a day for about two to three months. The patient can also buy silicone as an ointment and apply it to the skin to help heal tummy tuck scars.
Pressure Dressings – The idea of pressure dressings is that pressure is applied to the tummy tuck scar in the form of a stretchy, elastic material. The dressing can be used in combination with silicone gel sheeting to flatten and improve the appearance of scars over a period of 6 to 12 months.
Healing Creams and Lotions – There are topical solutions that can be used to help ease the pain of tummy tuck scars. Over the counter treatments include vitamin E, Scar Fade, Medema, ScarGo, ScarFase, and Dimisil, among others.
Surgery – Laser surgery to remove tummy tuck scars should be considered as a last resort to remove scars, as the surgery itself will leave a scar.
Additional Topical Scar Healing Products
Tips to Hide Tummy Tuck Scars
Tattoos – Of course, patients want to wait for the tummy tuck scar to heal completely before embarking on inscribing a tattoo to place on and around the tummy tuck scar. Another alternative to inking a permanent tattoo is using a temporary tattoo over or around the scar to hide it.
Camouflage Creams and Lotions – There are commercial products designed to help hide tummy tuck scars. The products come in a variety of colors to match the patient’s skin tone. The product should be blended on and around the tummy tuck scar to help hide the scar. If the patient has keloids (raised scars), they might want to try one of the textured products which builds layers of texture to help camouflage the tummy tuck scar.
Tummy Tuck Caution
Whenever a surgeon cuts into your skin and into muscle, there are going to be risks. Some of these risks can be serious and life-threatening. While tummy tucks are considered safe procedures, all tummy tucks are invasive procedures that require extensive knowledge and preparation. Patients must be wise, asking as many questions as possible in order to be well informed and ready to accept and handle the risks involved with undergoing a tummy tuck.
How Are Tummy Tuck Scars Hidden?
To Tummy Tuck or Not?
Have you or someone you know ever had a tummy tuck?
Tummy Tuck Scar Resources
Cleveland Clinic: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/scars/hic_scars.aspx
The Plastic Surgery Center of Nashville: http://www.theplasticsurgerycenterofnashville.com