All surgical procedures leave behind some degree of scarring. Any procedure that removes a significant amount of skin, such as abdominoplasty, will leave more extensive scars. Typically, this procedure involves a horizontal incision between the pelvic bones which is covered by a bathing suit bottom or underwear. It may also require an incision around the navel, and in a few cases, a small vertical incision on the lower abdomen. My tummy tuck patients in Tampa are often curious if there’s anything that can be done to minimize the scars associated with this highly effective surgery. The good news is that the severity of these scars is influenced by a number of factors, including:
- Surgical skill: A board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in abdominoplasty should have the skills to achieve an excellent outcome with smaller incisions. In our years of experience, we develop techniques for removing excess skin and fat and for tightening muscles through more limited incisions. We also utilize precise, careful techniques — from tissue dissection to closure and suturing — that allow for an improved scar outcome.
- Post-operative care: Plastic surgery is a team effort, and taking proper care of yourself during the recovery period is just as crucial as choosing the right doctor. Keeping your incision clean and dry prevents infection, and maintaining your follow-up appointments can help your doctor spot potential complications before they become serious.
- Body type: Like other cosmetic procedures, each abdominoplasty is tailored to the patient’s unique body and addresses his or her aesthetic goals. Skin tone and elasticity, location and amount of subcutaneous fat, and other physical conditions can affect the type of abdominoplasty performed — whether mini, full, extended, or another kind. This will also determine the length, placement and number of incisions.
If you would like to get a good sense of a surgeon’s skills, his or her before-and-after photos are an excellent place to start. These un-retouched photos provide frank insight into a doctor’s typical results, including scarring. Though all cases are different, these photos can help you visualize your own results.
During your consultation, your surgeon will carefully evaluate your abdomen and listen to your concerns, working with you to develop a surgical plan that maximizes your results and minimizes the risk of excessive scarring.