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Following abdominoplasty – commonly known as tummy tuck surgery – the final appearance of your scar(s) will depend on a combination of factors, including the specific surgical technique employed, how much skin is removed, how well you care for your incisions postoperatively, and your body’s natural healing process. Keeping this in mind, there are a few general principles that can often apply to tummy tuck scarring as a whole.

During a full abdominoplasty procedure, an incision will typically be made from hipbone to hipbone along the lower abdomen (usually at or below the location of a C-section scar). This scar tends to heal well and can be hidden by most underwear and bathing suit varieties. Similarly, the incision for a mini tummy tuck is generally made below the bikini line, though it’s shorter length is similar to that of a C-section scar. In fact, the mini abdominoplasty scar can often be designed to replace an existing, unsightly C-section scar for patients who have previously undergone a cesarean delivery. With a regular tummy tuck, a second incision will be made circumferentially inside the lip of the belly button, hidden within the navel’s natural curvature. With a mini tummy tuck, a much smaller (3 mm) incision is made at the inside lip of the belly button to remove fat via liposuction, which blends nicely with surrounding skin.

Ultimately, it is the plastic surgeon’s job to obtain the least visible scars possible, but patients can often help further minimize the appearance of scarring by not subjecting their incisions to excessive stress or tension throughout the healing process. If you limit abdominal strain and strictly follow the postoperative care instructions provided by your doctor, your scar should heal well and may not be as conspicuous as you might have anticipated.

Dr. Lawrence Tong, Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon