Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck
is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures for those who want to remove excess stomach fat, remove wrinkled skin in the abdomen, tighten the abdominal muscles, or simply reduce their waistline. The result of a tummy tuck is seen within weeks of the surgery but inevitably, so is the scar it will produce.
The scar left by a tummy tuck is one of the biggest reasons people are reluctant to have the surgery. There are different types of tummy tuck scars depending on the type of surgery being done. The scars are generally horizontal and unlike other surgical scarring, they tend to get worse before they get better.
There are pre and post operative steps you can take to aid the healing process, minimize the appearance of the scarring, and if needed, surgically reduce the scar after you have fully recovered.
Diet and Nutrition to Aid in Tummy Tuck Scar Reduction
Pre-surgery you can take nutritional supplements and watch your diet to aid the body in preparing for surgery.
Several weeks prior to the surgery, you should increase your intake of:
- Protein for tissue growth and repair
- Vitamin A for preventing infection
- Vitamin C for fighting infection
- Vitamin K for reducing the chance of blood clots
- Zinc to promote proper healing
Continuing the intake of these nutrients for several weeks after the surgery is also recommended.
Tummy Tuck Scar Care in Recovery
After your tummy tuck surgery
, wound care should be of number one concern. It is important to realize that all scars fade over time and its possible that your tummy tuck scar may be at its worst at about 12 weeks after your surgery. In order to heal and reduce the appearance as quickly as possible, consider using the following methods and tools:
1. Compression Garments and Pressure Tape
There are specially designed compression garments for tummy tuck recovery that apply the exact amount of pressure required to release the tension on the incision and reduce swelling. Compression garments also increase the blood circulation to the wound aiding in the scar healing.
Medical paper tape can be purchased and used to compress the scar making it flat and appear less prominent and work very similar to the compression garments. It is best to consult with your surgeon as to which of these pressure options would offer the best results in aiding in the healing of your tummy tuck incision.
2. Silicone Sheeting
The best over-the-counter treatment for tummy tuck scars is silicone sheeting. The sheets reduce the pain and itching while they smooth and flatten the scar. Silicone tummy tuck scar treatments can be purchased in the form of a patch, strip or dressing. Some brands actually offer silicone strips made specifically for tummy tuck scars.
3. Ointments, Oils, Butters, and Creams
Vitamin E oil and Cocoa Butter can be used to promote healing and nourish the skin. These also help fade the scar after healing with continued use.
Scar minimizing creams that contain minerals and vitamins which result in a lightening of the scar tissue are also available. These creams are recommended for use only after complete healing has taken place. Check with your doctor at your post-op appointment to get an appropriate timeframe for using any creams, oils, etc.
Lifestyle Choices that Help Reduce Tummy Tuck Scars
Lifestyle choices to consider which will help reduce the appearance of your tummy tuck scar are to wear loose clothing, avoid smoking, and most importantly use SPF, keeping the scar out of the sun.
Surgical Options for Tummy Tuck Scar Removal
After healing, if a prominent tummy tuck scar still exists, there are surgical solutions for scar removal.
Surgical scar revision can be performed six months or more after surgery. It will reduce the scars appearance by shortening the length of the scar so it works best for wide and long abdominoplasty scars.
Punch grafts is a procedure which removes the tummy tuck scar by cutting the scar out and grafting unaffected skin from another part of the body in its place. This results in a smoother less noticeable scar.
Laser treatment removes or transforms the damaged skin of the scar by using high-energy light. It may involve multiple treatments depending on how deep and how discolored the scar has become.
Preventative measures, attention to wound care, choices in lifestyle, and patience will all help reduce or minimize a tummy tuck scar but when those fail, the surgical options for tummy tuck scar reduction can be discussed with your surgeon.