Will I Be Able to Wear a Bikini After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Published: May 20, 2024
Category: Dr. Michael Philbin, Tummy Tuck

One of the most exciting parts about getting a tummy tuck is envisioning how your new body will look in form-fitting clothing. There’s no denying that having a flat, smooth, and more toned-looking abdominal area is confidence-boosting! Whether your goal is to feel sexy in skinny jeans, fantastic in a little black dress, or just more comfortable in your own skin – tummy tuck surgery can help you achieve it. However, many patients are concerned that the incisions that result from abdominoplasty may be too visible when wearing skin-exposing garments, leading them to question whether or not they’ll be able to wear a bikini after tummy tuck surgery.

Where are incisions for tummy tuck surgery made?

“One of the most gratifying parts of performing tummy tuck surgery for me, as a surgeon, is hearing how empowered patients feel afterward wearing clothes they’ve avoided for years, including bikinis,” shares Dr. Philbin. “I’ve literally worked with patients who had tears in their eyes when they told me they never thought they’d feel confident enough ever to wear a bikini again. So, yes! You can and will be able to wear a bikini after tummy tuck surgery. In fact, your surgeon will do everything they can to make any incisions as discreet as possible.”

There are three main types of tummy tuck surgeries – standard, extended, and mini. Regardless of which tummy tuck variation you have, an incision will be made within your bikini line. This incision’s exact shape and length will depend on the level of correction required to achieve your desired improvements. The skin and fat will then be lifted to view your abdominal muscles. This action allows your plastic surgeon to suture weakened or separated abdominal muscles that frequently result after pregnancy together if necessary.

“Elevating the skin in a tunnel over your six-pack muscles until the xiphoid process (or where your rib cage comes together) allows our surgeons to address excess skin and fat of the upper abdomen and redrape these tissues,” explains Dr. Philbin. “The belly button will be repositioned, and then the incisions will be closed using sutures. Small drains are often used to help your body eliminate excess fluid that develops in the surgical site. Your surgeon will exhaust every opportunity to make your incision as low as possible and easy to hide no matter what you’re wearing.”

Caring for your incisions after tummy tuck surgery to get bikini-ready

The patient plays a vital role in how noticeable their incisions will be after tummy tuck surgery. During recovery, it is essential that you follow your post-care instructions to ensure any scars are as light and faded as possible a year after your surgery.

“How quickly you heal after tummy tuck surgery will depend on your body’s ability to heal, your overall physical health, and how diligent you are about following your post-care instructions,” advises Dr. Philbin. “The first week or two after surgery, we’ll want you to walk slightly hunched over to keep any tension off incisions. You’ll also be encouraged to sleep upright to avoid stretching out at night and straining incisions.

A compression garment must be worn for several weeks to reduce swelling and protect incisions. Following these steps, resting, and taking your recovery seriously will significantly enhance your final outcome from tummy tuck surgery and may even get you into a bikini sooner!”

How soon can I wear a bikini after tummy tuck surgery?

Although recovery is different for everyone, most patients feel as though their swelling has subsided enough to feel comfortable in a swimsuit three months after tummy tuck surgery. However, there are precautions you must take.

“If you want your scars to fade to a barely noticeable white after tummy tuck surgery, you must protect your incisions from sun exposure,” warns Dr. Philbin. “This includes keeping them covered under clothing and applying an SPF if there is any chance of that skin being exposed to UV light. Sunlight triggers melanin production in the skin, which can make incisions that already have a brownish-purple tone even darker. So, for your first year after surgery, you may opt for a higher-waisted bikini bottom and/or one that covers more of your hips to protect incisions.”

“Applying and reapplying a waterproof SPF will also double your assurance that your incisions are protected,” adds Dr. Philbin. “Wearing UPF swimwear and a sarong may also be helpful. These precautions will ensure that by one year out from surgery, your incisions are as light and faded as possible and difficult to detect with the naked eye, allowing you to feel even more confident, regardless of what you’re wearing!”

Would you like to feel more confident in a bikini, but excess, loose skin in your abdominal area is holding you back? Schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Michael Philbin or another board-certified plastic surgeon at Edina Plastic Surgery to discuss tummy tuck surgery! Call (952) 592-6084, text (952) 925-1765 or CLICK HERE to get started.

Schedule A Consultation