5 Ways to Fade & Treat Your Tummy Tuck Scar

Published: September 10, 2020
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Category: Dr. Robert Wilke, Blog, Tummy Tuck

According to the Plastic Surgery Statistics Report, more than 123,000 Americans decided to trim and smooth their waistlines with Tummy Tuck Surgery (abdominoplasty) in 2019. Tummy Tucks are consistently one of the most requested plastic surgeries from year to year. Despite its popularity and high patient satisfaction, abdominoplasty does present a drawback for some people in the form of a significant scar.

“A Tummy Tuck has a dual focus. It removes excess skin and fat after weight loss or pregnancy, and corrects abdominal muscle laxity,” explains Dr. Robert Wilke, a board-certified plastic surgeon with Edina Plastic Surgery. “Because quite a bit of skin is typically removed, a long incision is required that will result in a scar after surgery.”

When your plastic surgeon assesses your abdominal area for Tummy Tuck Surgery, he or she is looking at the skin from the bottom of your rib cage to the crease of your groin. Generally, the scar that is left behind after surgery sits very low across the abdomen. This makes it easy to hide beneath the waistline of clothing or a bathing suit.

“How your skin scars after surgery is very dependent upon the skill of your surgeon, your genetics, and how you care for your scar after your procedure,” says Dr. Wilke. “A few weeks after surgery, after your skin has healed, patients can begin to use products at home that help lighten and fade their Tummy Tuck scar. After a few months, you can begin exploring in-office treatments that can make your scar even less noticeable. At Edina Plastic Surgery, we’re lucky that we have our Skin Artisans medical spa right next store to provide many of these treatment options.”

The Most Effective Treatments to Fade Tummy Tuck Scars

Abdominoplasty scars can be quite noticeable for up to a year following your procedure. Scars on lighter skin types generally turn pink first and then fade to a thin, white line. Darker skin types may heal dark and pigmented at first and then lighten over time. Although this scar will never entirely go away, here are some of the most popular and effective treatment options to minimize its appearance.

#1 – Taping

 

“We typically close abdominoplasty incisions with dissolvable sutures placed under the skin,” explains Dr. Wilke. “We then cover the incision with steri-strips/paper tape, which protects the incision and minimizes tension.  The light pressure from the tape against the incision has been shown to help minimize scarring as well.  We often have patients continue to tape the incision for about 6 weeks; changing the tape every 5-7 days.”

#2 – Scar Fading Creams & Topicals

“There are many scar creams on the market,” says Dr. Wilke. “None of them are a miracle cure for scarring, but, nonetheless, they can be helpful to minimize a scar.  The simplest and least expensive option is using moisturizing cream with vitamin E.  Some of the more advanced creams contain silicone, and some have hydroquinone or other skin lightening agents to suppress pigment cell activity.  We usually don’t recommend using these creams until about 6 weeks after surgery.”

#3 – Laser and Light-Based Treatments

 

How your Tummy Tuck scar appears a year after surgery is, most likely, how it will remain without the aid of additional treatments. This is when you can begin exploring options like resurfacing lasers or intense light-based treatments to pull any pigment from the scar or fade residual redness.

“Laser resurfacing treatments like HALO™ and Profractional can make scars less noticeable by smoothing their texture,” says Dr. Wilke. “Light-based treatments like BBL (Broadband Light) target darker pigment cells, which can lighten the coloration of a scar and reduce redness. In some cases, both treatments may be beneficial, but it’s important to realize that you will need multiple treatments to see significant improvement.  At Edina Plastic Surgery, we believe in an all-inclusive approach to surgery that addresses our patients needs from start to finish.  We’ve created a Post-Surgical Scar Treatment package to ensure that our patients have the best opportunity to heal with minimal scarring after any surgery we perform.  This package includes a series of 6 BBL and Profractional laser resurfacing treatments performed 4-6 weeks apart as well as Stratamed Scar Recovery Gel.”

#4 – Microneedling Collagen Induction Therapy

 

Microneedling devices, like SkinPen®, use tiny surgical-grade needles to create thousands of micro-injuries to your skin. In turn, this stimulates your skin’s collagen and elastin production, and it heals firmer and smoother. This treatment can be especially beneficial for scars that have healed unevenly. A series of microneedling treatments can result in a soft, flat Tummy Tuck scar that blends very well into the surrounding skin.

#5 – Permanent Cosmetics or Tattoo

 

“This is thinking outside of the box, but I have had patients who eventually choose to cover their Tummy Tuck scar with a tattoo,” says Dr. Wilke. “This is obviously not for everyone, but because the scar sits so low on the abdomen, it AND the tattoo can be easily covered. Patients will need to wait until their scar is fully healed, about a year, before they can have a tattoo.”

In recent years, the Permanent Cosmetics industry has begun to provide options to disguise surgical scarring. This technique involves your provider using a flesh-colored ink that is closely matched to the skin surrounding your scar and essentially “filling in” your scar. It is crucial to not only go to a reputable provider for this treatment but also to avoid tanning the skin near your scar, as the scar will not achieve the tan of the surrounding skin.

“As surgeons, we do everything we can during your surgery to minimize the appearance of your future Tummy Tuck scar,” says Dr. Wilke. “An experienced surgeon will avoid making your incision too high, and strive to make it as small and symmetrical as possible without sacrificing your results. To date, I have never had a patient who didn’t think that the rewards of their Tummy Tuck far outweighed the scar!”

Have you been considering Tummy Tuck Surgery and would like to learn more? Schedule a complimentary consultation with an Edina Plastic Surgery Surgeon by calling (612) 688-3177 or CLICKING HERE!

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