Tummy Tuck FAQ’S About Scars
Where is the tummy tuck scar?
There are several different types of tummy tucks, and therefore, there are several various types of resulting scars. Every patient is different. However, most tummy tucks are done with a horizontal incision. During a horizontal tummy tuck, an incision usually goes from hip to hip and across the top of the pubic region. If you have a C-section scar, the C-section scar is usually removed during a horizontal tummy tuck. Sometimes the tummy tuck scar is placed low and under hip hugger jeans. Sometimes the tummy tuck scar is placed high to result in a high lateral tension tummy tuck. This hi lateral tension tummy tuck helps to accentuate an hourglass figure. This type of scar is usually not hidden under hip hugger jeans. However, clothing hides the high lateral tension tummy tuck scar if the clothing is brought high over the hips.
Another type of tummy tuck is the vertical tummy tuck. During a vertical tummy tuck, an incision is made from the sternum to the pubic region. This type of tummy tuck is for patients with excess skin and fat from the sternum to the belly button. Other patients require a combination of the vertical and horizontal tummy tuck. The result of this type of tummy tuck is a scar that looks like an upside-down letter ‘T”. This is called an inverted T abdominoplasty. Another type of tummy tuck is a reverse tummy tuck. During the reverse tummy tuck, instead of the tummy being pulled down like a horizontal tummy tuck, the tummy is pulled up. The incision is placed underneath the breast.
After my tummy tuck, what can I put on the scars?
After a tummy tuck, the best thing is to apply silicone. There are two things that I suggest to optimize the tummy tuck scar and are the best ways to deliver silicone. One is silicone ointment and the other is silicone tape. Once everything has completely healed, approximately six to eight weeks after the tummy tuck, I would suggest using a silicone-based cream to the tummy tuck scar. Personally, I recommend a product called Biocorneum. In my experience, this is the best product on the market. If your scar cream does not contain silicone, it is not worth using. I would suggest you apply Biocorneum two to three times a day. One drop the size of a pea should cover approximately four inches of the scar.
The other product I suggest is a silicone-based tape. Tape can be placed on top of the Biocorneum. I would recommend a roll of silicone tape so you can have one piece and custom cut it to your individual scar. Mepitac makes the silicone tape I like best. Usually, one piece of silicone tape can last several weeks. I would suggest you use the silicone cream and tape for six months.
After my tummy tuck, when can I put the scar cream on?
If everything is healing well and all the incisions are closed, you can start applying your silicone scar cream. Typically, I wait for six weeks after a tummy tuck before applying scar cream. There is no rush to start using silicone scar cream. It takes a scar up to two years to fully mature. After about two years, scar cream and tape will probably have no effect.
After my tummy tuck, what can do about the scars besides cream?
If you are still dissatisfied with the tummy tuck scar after applying silicone and tape, there are other ways to improve the final tummy tuck scar. There are a wide variety of lasers that can be tailored to your individual tummy tuck scar. One excellent laser for the tummy tuck scar is the Fraxel laser. The Fraxel laser helps to break-up and flatten scar. Please discuss with your plastic surgeon when to start tummy tuck scar therapy with the Fraxel laser. It may take several Fraxel laser treatments to get the tummy tuck scar optimized.
What happens to my C-section scar?
Most C-section scars are placed horizontally. I usually place my tummy tuck incision below the C-section scar. Therefore, after a tummy tuck, the C-section scar is completely removed. Some C-section scars are placed vertically. If this is the case, the vertically oriented C-section scar is also removed.
I feel lumps under my scar. What are these? When will they go away? How do I get rid of them?
Lumps under your tummy tuck scar are not uncommon. These lumps are scar tissue. The scar tissue can either be due to primary scar, or scars around existing or dissolving sutures. I call these “scar balls.” These “scar balls” or internal scars may take six to eight months to dissolve. Usually, these “scar balls” or internal scars disappear on their own. If these “scar balls” are concerning to you, I would suggest deep tissue massage. For deep tissue massage, I would recommend using a golf ball or a vibration device to break up the scar tissue. If the scar tissue persists for more than eight months after your tummy tuck, you may need an internal scar revision. Internal scar revision is often performed with a small liposuction cannula or through direct scar excision.
I have numbness below my belly button and above my tummy tuck scar. Will this numbness ever go away?
No. There will always be a small area of numbness on your anterior abdominal wall. This area is usually above the pubic region and below the belly button. Sometimes, the area can be as big as your hand with fingers included. Sometimes, the area of numbness can be as small as a quarter. Nonetheless, there will always be an area of numbness on the anterior abdominal wall after a tummy tuck.
I had my gallbladder removed. There is a large scar on the right side under the rib cage. Can I still have a tummy tuck?
Yes. The surgery you had is called an “open cholecystectomy”. With the invention of laparoscopic surgery, most gallbladder surgery with the laparoscope. This is significantly improved technique, offer to time, recovery, hospital stay, return to work, pain, and has minimal scarring. The laparoscopic cholecystectomy is by far a better procedure than open cholecystectomy. However, sometimes a patient needs to undergo an open cholecystectomy this may be due to a variety of reasons. One of the problems with the open cholecystectomy is that the incision cuts off blood supply. This restriction in blood supply was thought to cause problems with healing after a tummy tuck. Multiple studies have shown that it is safe to perform a tummy tuck even with an open cholecystectomy scar. When I evaluate patients for a tummy tuck who already have an open cystectomy scar, I tried to design a tummy tuck scar in such a way that the open cholecystectomy scar is completely removed. I doing this, the issues of healing due to blood supply are usually significantly diminished.