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What does a tummy tuck scar look like?

Tummy Tucks / Post Pregnancy Surgery / Surgical Tips

28 Jul 2023

What does a tummy tuck scar look like?

Dr Moncrieff is known for his tummy tuck results which are designed to reshape the entire abdomen. Of course, in order to remove loose abdominal skin, fat, scars and stretch marks, repair the muscle wall, tighten and contour the core - you must make the trade-off of a visible scar.

So, what will the scar look like, where will it be located and what can you do to minimise the appearance? Read on to find out.


Where will my tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) scar be located?

A ‘traditional’ or ‘standard’ tummy tuck scar involves a hip-to-hip incision, below the navel and above the pubic area. This scar is usually easily hidden in the underwear line. A standard tummy tuck also involves creating a new navel, resulting in a small circular scar.

Dr Moncrieff performs several variations of abdominoplasty based on the amount of excess skin removal, liposuction and muscle repair required. Variations of tummy tuck incision include mini (smaller scar in the bikini line, no new navel), extended (scar extending just past the hips), fleur de lis (vertical scar down the centre of the abdomen as well as hip-to-hip), circumferential (‘lower body lift’ scar extending around the circumference of the bikini line and lower back), and T-scar (involving a traditional hip-to-hip incision, with a small inverted T in the centre).

Dr Moncrieff will ask you to wear your favourite style of underwear on the day of surgery – that way he can map out the surgical incision based on where you would like the scar to be hidden. While Dr Moncrieff does his best to accommodate scar placement requests, ultimately the position of the scar will be determined by how he believes he can achieve the best possible surgical result and how the incision line heals.


Should my tummy tuck scar be lumpy, bumpy, squiggly, raised, red or purple?

A tummy tuck scar takes a minimum of 12 months to completely mature and will usually change considerably in appearance during that time! While the incision is healing, it is normal to feel lumps and bumps under the dressing. Dr Moncrieff uses internal, dissolvable sutures across the length of the incision – occasionally, rather than dissolving, you may have a suture that decides to poke its way through the skin. This is what we call a ‘spitting suture.’ Spitting sutures may present like a pimple, or red bump along the incision line before the suture breaks through the skin. You may even be able to feel these under your dressings. The good news is that spitting sutures rarely have an impact on the aesthetic outcome of the scar.

The shape and dimension of the scar is primarily determined by how the incision heals. It is important to remember that even with an incision created by a skilled specialist Plastic Surgeon like Dr Moncrieff, every patient’s healing journey is unique. Genetics and adherence to post-operative instructions play a great role in the final outcome of the scar – so after surgery Dr Moncrieff passes the baton on to you to ensure together you reach a great outcome!

A tummy tuck scar will generally first appear as very fine and white in colour straight after surgery (although often not visible due to dressings), before progressing from deep purple, to red, to pink and then slowly fading back to pale purple and then white over 18 months to 2 years. This pattern is a typical scar progression and is why we advise patients not to fixate on the scar while they are still in their recovery period.

If you have a history of keloid scarring, this should be discussed with Dr Moncrieff during your consultation.


How will my tummy tuck scar progress over time?

See below example of Dr Moncrieff’s tummy tuck patient at 12-weeks post-op. As you can see, the scar has reached it’s ‘purple phase.’ This patient has been generous in allowing us to document her scar progression – we will continue to update this blog with progress photos photos until she reaches 2 years post-op!

Dr Moncrieff’s patient: 

Pre-op


Dr Moncrieff’s patient: 

Standard tummy tuck incision at 12-weeks post-op


Dr Moncrieff’s patient: 

Standard tummy tuck incision at 6-months post-op


Dr Moncrieff’s patient: 

Standard tummy tuck incision at 9-months post-op


Dr Moncrieff’s patient: 

Standard tummy tuck incision at 12-months post-op


Dr Moncrieff’s patient: 

Standard tummy tuck incision at 18-months post-op

Dr Moncrieff’s patient: 

Standard tummy tuck incision at 2.5 years post-op


How can I minimise the appearance of a tummy tuck scar?

There are several options available to help reduce the appearance of your tummy tuck scar:

Wear your post-surgical garments and keep your dressings in place

Your compression garment is effective in managing post-operative swelling and fluid retention by increasing blood circulation and nutrients to the surgical area. It assists in decreasing discomfort, bruising, and pressure on the incisions which can help reduce visible scars.

Your dressings keep the wound together while the body’s healing process is taking place. Your dressings are designed to last 3-weeks. They are vital to keeping the wound from stretching and avoiding infection. It is counterproductive to remove dressings in the early stages of healing as it disturbs the healing wound bed and ultimately affects the long term functional and aesthetic appearance of the surgical scar.

Although the dressings are waterproof it is important that water does not get under them. Breaching this dressing barrier may result in a breakdown of the surgical incision - the drier that you can keep the dressings in the first 6-weeks, the better your scar will heal in the long-term.

Healite II LED Light Therapy

All of our tummy tuck patients received two complimentary Healite II LED Light Therapy sessions following their procedure.  is proven to assist with wound healing and scar minimisation, helping to promote collagen production and improve circulation around the surgical site. Many patients go on to purchase a package of LED sessions to utilise during their immediate recovery period. We recommend 1-2 sessions per week within the first 12- weeks following surgery.

Continue taping your scar up to 12-weeks post-op

At 6-weeks post-op, your surgical dressings will be removed by our nursing team. To minimise tension on the scar, we recommend continuing to tape your scars intermittently (one week on, one week off) for 12-weeks post-operatively. Continuing to tape the length of your tummy tuck scar will help to minimise tension on the site while the abdomen swells in ebbs and flows. The less tension on the incision, the less likely the scar is to stretch over time. At your 6-week post-op appointment, we will provide you with a roll of brown Micropore tape to continue your dressing regime. Unlike the white Hypafix tape used in your immediate post-operative period, the brown Micropore tape is water resistant and does not need to be blow-dried after showering. Massages can be performed over top of the Micropore tape while showering to help break up the scar tissue.

Massage and topical products

After 6-weeks post-op, you may begin your scar management regime. For a tummy tuck, we recommend massaging the scar with a product like Nokori Scar Balm or Strataderm silicone gel between removing and reapplying the Micropore tape.

Dermapen or skin needling

At 12-weeks post-op, once the scar has completely healed, you may undergo more intensive scar minimising treatments such as Dermapen or skin needling. Abrasive treatments like Dermapen can help to break up the existing scar tissue and create a ‘flattened’ appearance.

More information about minimising scars after plastic surgery can be found here.


Have another question about tummy tuck scars, or ready to start exploring your surgical options?

Please do note hesitate to give one of our friendly team a call on 4920 7700. Your initial appointment will be with our Practice Manager Jessica who will discuss costs, rebates, recovery and help plan your timeline for surgery!


Other blogs you might be interested in:


Practice Nurse Alecia Baker

Blog Author:

Alecia Baker, Practice Nurse, Hunter Plastic Surgery

About Alecia

Alecia joined us as our Practice Nurses in 2018. She is a Registered Nurse with extensive experience in nursing and patient management in some of the busiest hospital settings in the Hunter! She really cares about helping our patients become healthy and happy. Her kind and calm manner help them feel comfortable during their journey with us.

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