Post Tummy Tuck Scars
The plus about having a scar post-tummy tuck is that it was not just any surgeon who sutured the incision together, but at Toronto Cosmetic Clinic it is a plastic surgeon.
Plastic surgeons are taught and trained specifically how to create the cleanest types of lines and how to suture lacerations in the careful most timely manner in order to leave you with a “beautiful” looking scar.
How Our Plastic Surgeon Creates a Beautiful 'Scar'
To start off, its all about the location of where the incisions will be. Since cosmetic procedures, including an abdominoplasty are elective, there is usually a choice as to where the scar can be placed. When the incision is placed in a fold or crease of the skin, the appearance can be greatly minimized. In the instance of a tummy tuck the scar around the navel blends into the natural contours of the area so its appearance is almost non-existent and the horizontal scar is meant to be hidden when one wears a bikini or underwear.
When comparing surgeons’ suture techniques, other surgeons need to concentrate on their specialty such as repairing the heart or removing a gallbladder to improve your health or save your life. The less time for you to be under anesthesia the better. So in most instances, their lacerations will be closed with staples or in one layer.
When plastic surgeons close lacerations, they use a suture technique that closes the wound in layers. This evenly distributes the tension throughout the layers of tissue, thereby minimizing tension around skin’s edges. By doing so this will reduce the pull near the surface of the incision to prevent widening of it (wound dehiscence). When handling the skin’s edges to close the last layer, most plastic surgeons have a good eye for skin approximation (edges of the laceration are brought together to match up) which will create a smooth line.
Risk Factors of Poor Tummy Tuck Scar Formation
Now that you understand how your scar is created, it is important to know what will influence its appearance. Try to keep a healthy diet, stay hydrated, avoid smoking and alcohol in order to insure that nutrients are delivered, and your blood flows properly to the wound area.
For up to one year, scars must not be in direct UV light. This will darken the appearance of the scars as they are trying to heal. Always cover them when you are going to be in the sun.
Also remember in order to keep the scar looking smooth, you want to prevent getting any sort of infection in the area. Antibiotics are given orally as a prescription medication after surgery. This will decrease the chance of an infection from occurring and disfiguring the incision lines. It is also important to take proper care of the wound, to prevent infection as well. This is included in your post- operative instructions from Toronto Cosmetic Clinic and is taught to you from the nurses and surgeon.
Unfortunately, factors that one will not be able control are their genetics and age. Some individuals are at risk for poor scar formation, including keloids and hyperpigmented scars. The older a person is, the longer and harder it is for the body to heal due to the deceleration of collagen synthesis (this is what scars are mostly comprised of).
What Can I Do to Minimize My Tummy Tuck Scar?
The main scar to be concerned about is the large horizontal one. After one year the scar around the navel (if you had a full tummy tuck) will start to blend into the natural curves and will diminish in appearance. 6 weeks after your abdominoplasty you can begin to use products, and after 6 months you can begin to undergo laser therapy.
Hydroquinone- A bleaching agent that stops melanin production may be needed if you are darker in complexion and prone to developing hyperpigmentation. A 4% hydroquinone based cream that is applied daily will reduce pigment irregularities when used for a short period of time.
Silicone- Numerous studies have shown the efficacy of silicone therapy in reducing the visibility of a scar. Silicone sheets and gels are the most common forms.
Cortisone- If you do develop keloid scarring, cortisone can be injected directly into it, to breakdown the hard fibrous tissue. This will help to flatten and soften the scar. Several injections, spaced 4-6 weeks apart may be needed, depending on how well this steroid therapy works for you.
Laser- There are many types of light therapy treatments on the market such as pulsed-dye lasers, Nd:YAG lasers, Erbium lasers and IPL procedures that can treat a variety of scar ailments. Every clinic will vary in their selection. At Toronto Cosmetic Clinic, non-ablative fractional treatments work wonders at improving depressed scars, and we use a laser that has a 532nm wavelength to reduce the redness of scar (Medlight therapy).
Massage- by massaging the scar, you can soften it and prevent further hardening. After about 6 weeks using your fingers you can apply firm circular pressure to the scar a few times a day for up to one year if needed.
At the ends of the horizontal scar along the abdomen, the skin can bunch up, creating pointy ends of the scar, that resemble a “dog ear”. Over time these can smooth out naturally, but if not, a simple procedure at Toronto Cosmetic Clinic can be performed to excise them. They can appear on both ends of the scar or on just one end. Under local anesthesia, the dog ears are cut off and the skin is sutured together. The procedure takes about 20 minutes.
You will find that the tradeoff for a tummy tuck scar is well worth it! Your abdomen will be slimmed, toned and smooth!