Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, is a major operation that removes excess belly fats and skin as well as tightens abdominal muscles. Undergoing this extensive procedure would usually create incision scars that can be a bit unappealing to look at if not properly cared for. Tummy tuck scars, unfortunately, do not go away. They may, however, be made unnoticeable if proper care and attention are given to them.
Tummy tuck scars: How do they look like?
Abdominoplasty may involve several incisions in the abdominal area that can cause scarring post-surgery. Your plastic surgeon, depending on the type of abdominoplasty procedure you need, makes the following incisions:
- A horizontal incision across your lower abdomen extending from hip to hip
- A circular incision around your navel (for full abdominoplasty)
- A vertical incision to connect the umbilical (belly button) incision and the horizontal pelvic incision
Tummy tuck scars: How are scars formed?
Whenever a break in the skin is created, collagen fibres produced by the body come to the rescue. They seal the skin so that infection can be prevented. Increased blood supply on the area follows the body’s defence mechanism to support and strengthen the skin. This causes the dark pigmentation on the scar area while it is still healing. As time passes, the blood supply and collagen production come back to normal, making the scar look flat and light in color.
There are times, however, when scars become overly emphasised and intense in appearance, especially for keloid formers. Keloid is a type of irregular scar called hypertrophic scars that appear to be darker and raised. It can also affect the skin beyond the incision site.
Tummy tuck scars: How can I prevent or remove them?
Unfortunately, as we mentioned earlier, scars, once you have them, can never be removed. Because you are going to undergo a surgery that involves cutting the skin, scar formation is inevitable. The only thing you can do is to make your scar look less visible. Here are some tips to minimise your scar appearance:
Prevent infection. Proper wound care can prevent further complications on the wound, so scarring can also be minimised.
Follow your doctor’s post-op wound instructions. Proper wound healing is the key. Apply the ointments or creams your surgeon advises you to use to prevent further damage or scarring of the skin.
Moisturise your skin. Dry and undernourished skin lacks in elasticity, making it prone to further damage. Hydrate and moisturise your skin when the wounds are already closed to aid in further wound healing.
Avoid irritation. Using new skincare products or wearing tight-fitting clothes can cause irritation to the wound, intensifying its appearance.
Apply skin-friendly products. Using vitamin E-enriched skin products make your skin look supple and healthy. Applying suntan and avoiding extreme sun exposure can help in protecting your newly-formed skin over your wound from the sun’s harmful rays. It also prevents your scars from becoming darker and pigmented.
Use these tips when caring for your scars, whether it is from a surgery, an accident, or an injury. Caring for your wound not only prevents blemishes from becoming too noticeable, but it primarily protects you from unwanted complications that may cause further harm to your overall health.