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What Type of Scars to Expect After You Get a Tummy Tuck

Marlene spends numerous hours researching solutions to common and sometimes obscure health and beauty issues. She shares her results here.

Tummy tuck surgery can help create a flatter abdomen.

Tummy tuck surgery can help create a flatter abdomen.

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

In the world of cosmetic surgery, a tummy tuck is referred to as “abdominoplasty,” which is an operational procedure designed to make the abdomen flatter and more firm. When a cosmetic surgeon performs abdominoplastic surgery, he or she removes excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen. By removing skin and fat from these areas, the muscle and fibrous tissue of the abdominal wall become lighter, thus eliminating the sagging skin formerly seen in the abdominal area.

Types of Tummy Tucks

There are various types of tummy tucks, each depending on the degree of skin and muscle involved. Generally, when considering a tummy tuck, the following two types of procedures are the primary considerations.

  1. Complete abdominoplasty: the incision is made from hip to hip just above the pubic area, and another incision is made to release the navel from the surrounding skin in order to reposition the navel.
  2. Partial abdominoplasty: a smaller incision than with the complete abdominoplasty, the belly button stalk is cut from the muscle, and a little liposuction is used to aid in contouring the abdominal area.

There are many variations of the tummy tuck that provide advanced enhancement of the overall look of the abdominal region. Some of the more advanced techniques include incisions that involve the upper thigh or buttocks and other areas to give the patient the most proficient results. In all of these procedures, there will be a scar as a result of the operation.

Types of Scars Associated With Tummy Tucks

While there are other risks and considerations regarding tummy tucks, the primary focus of this article is on the types of scars you can expect when you undergo a tummy tuck.

  • Keloid scars: Keloid scars are scars that are raised scars. Keloids are scars that appear red or darker in color than the normal skin color and are formed from collagen that the body produces after the wound has healed. Anyone can suffer from keloid scars, however, this type of scar appears most often in darker-skinned people. They can be painful and sometimes so painful that they limit full mobility.
  • Track marks: Track marks are caused by the suture (thread lines) used to close the tummy tuck incision.

The patient must be aware that surgical scars are permanent scars, however, most tummy tuck scars are horizontal scars located in the lower abdomen, hidden beneath what we refer to as the bikini line (that area below the belly button and just above the pubic area). The length of the incision depends on how much tissue is being removed.

Expect the scar to worsen over a period of 3 to 6 months before it starts to get better. Typically, between 36 weeks to one year after surgery, the scar may become flattened, and the color will become lighter.

But, know this for a fact—the scar will never completely disappear; however, after the surgical tapes are removed, there are several things that can be done to heal and minimize the scar.

Tips to Heal Scars

  • Corticosteroid Injections: For keloid scars, corticosteroid injections are injected into the scar to reduce inflammation and flatten the scar. If necessary, the injection may be repeated over a period of months, possibly two to three injections per month over a period of about six months.
  • Cryotherapy: Keloid scars can be removed by cryotherapy, which is a type of therapy that involves the use of nitrogen to freeze away the scar tissue.
  • Silicone Gel Sheets: Silicone gel sheets are used only on healed scars and not applied to open wounds. They are worn over scars for 12 to 24 hours a day for about two to three months. Additionally, the patient can buy silicone as an ointment and apply it to the skin to help heal their scars.
  • Pressure Dressings: The idea of pressure dressings is that pressure is applied to scars in the form of a stretchy, elastic material. The dressing can be used in combination with silicone gel sheets to flatten and improve the appearance of scars over a period of 6 to 12 months.
  • Healing Creams and Lotions: There are topical solutions that can be used to help ease the pain of scars. Over-the-counter treatments include vitamin E, Scar Fade, Medema, ScarGo, ScarFase, and Dimisil, among others.
  • Surgery: Laser surgery to remove scars should be considered as a last resort to remove scars, as the surgery itself will leave a scar.

Tips to Hide Scars

  • Tattoos: Of course, patients want to wait for their scars to heal completely before embarking on inscribing tattoos to place on and around the scars. Another alternative to inking permanent tattoos is using temporary tattoos over or around scars to hide them.
  • Camouflage Creams and Lotions: There are commercial products designed to help hide scars. The products come in a variety of colors to match the patient’s skin tone. The product should be blended on and around scars to help hide them. If the patient has keloids (raised scars), they might want to try one of the textured products which build layers of texture to help camouflage scars.

Tummy Tuck Caution

Whenever a surgeon cuts into your skin and into muscle, there are going to be risks. Some of these risks can be serious and life-threatening. While tummy tucks are considered safe procedures, all tummy tucks are invasive procedures that require extensive knowledge and preparation. Patients must be wise, asking as many questions as possible in order to be well informed and ready to accept and handle the risks involved with undergoing a tummy tuck procedure.


“What is a Tummy Tuck?” Tummy Tuck: Abdominoplasty. American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Last accessed 9/9/2017

“Tummy Tuck.” Smart Beauty Guide. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Last Accessed 9/9/2017

“Learn More About Tummy Tuck Surgery.” Tummy Tuck Guide. American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, Last accessed 9/9/2017

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

Question: What should I use on my tummy tuck scar when I tan in a tanning bed?

Answer: There are many types of scars associated with tummy tucks. Your question goes beyond the scope of this article which merely describes the types of scars to expect when you have a tummy tuck. Only your surgeon or dermatologist can effectively answer your question about what to do when you tan in a tanning bed.

© 2012 Marlene Bertrand


Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on March 28, 2018:

Hello Madisson6, you were very wise to talk to your doctor first about the type of scars you could anticipate before the surgery. I am really happy the surgery turned out well.

Madisson6 on March 28, 2018:

I think my biggest worries before my tummy tuck surgery was the scarring. I knew there was always gonna be some but never know how visible it will be. I saw some pictures before but usually it is individual so at my consultation i took all the advises regarding taking care of myself seriously. What was important that my surgeon dr.Benes was understanding and gave me proper explanation how the procedure will look like. Sounded scary:-(But everything went well and i could not be more happy when i saw my tummy. The scars could be hidden under my underwear so that was great. Of course they were visible a lot straight after the surgery but were fading after time. I used some scar creams i got for free at Forme clinic and it seems they quite helped. These days i am thinking of having a tatoo later - i saw some pictures and it looks very sexy.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 29, 2015:

Hi Shawna. I am absolutely thrilled about your tummy tuck results. It looks like you made a great decision and had an awesome surgeon to perform the procedure. That's so good to hear. Thank you so much for sharing your results.

Shawna on April 23, 2015:

I scrolled through this rather quickly so sorry if I missed some comments. It seems like almost everyone here has not had a tummy tuck. I have. I LOVE it! I have two amazing daughters and we are done having babies so I decided I wanted this, along with a breast lift. I did the diet and exercise before coming to a decision. I lost a lot of weight. I did sit-ups non stop... nothing would help my tummy. I went in fur a consult and my doctor said it was all loose skin and wouldn't go away. He also said my muscle tone was awesome so I'd have great results. Yes, the pain sucked but it was short (10 days maybe each one better than the last). I'm one month out now and have more healing to do, but am so in love with my results already!

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on March 04, 2013:

Hello dghbrh and rajan. Thank you for your feedback. Yes, surgery should be an alternate choice. First, I would choose to exercise because the risks may not be acceptable for everyone.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 03, 2013:

Marlene, this is interesting but I'd never go for it. Not scared about the surgeon's knife but I'd rather do some exercise and healthy eating than go through this.

Voted up and interesting

deergha from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!! on March 03, 2013:

Dear,...... it's a very useful hub and informative. I have heard a lot about tummy tuck but never had a thorough information about it. The photos are also very useful. I have a 12 year old son and ever since his birth I am fighting hard with my belly fat. But to no avail. One of my friend suggested that we should opt for tummy tuck as its almost a same story with may be all mothers. Though personally i would stay like the way I am rather than to go under knife. I would always prefer to exercise though now very nicely know that I can't get rid of the unwanted fat in my belly but its just all rite with me. After reading your hub I am even more sure about my decision now. Thanks to you. Votes up and shared.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 13, 2013:

Hi ArockDaNinja. A little imagination is good for you, especially in this case, because the outcome could be exactly what you imagine - surgery, pain, and not so good results.

ArockDaNinja from Massachusetts, USA on February 13, 2013:

I've haven't experienced major surgery like that before. I'm terrified that the anesthetics won't work, and I'll have to endure the pain for the entirety of the surgery. Can you imagine? I have quite the imagination, I actually think there's a movie about that.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 13, 2013:

None for me either, ArockDaNinja. There are too many things that can go wrong. But, if I had to have one, at least it is good to know the things I need to be concerned with.

ArockDaNinja from Massachusetts, USA on February 12, 2013:

No tummy tucks please!

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 11, 2013:

I agree with you, alocsin. I think this should be a last resort effort to reduce the abdominal area. I have a friend who had a tummy tuck and all went well, surgically. But, afterwards she had a scar that made her tummy lumpy.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on February 11, 2013:

I would hope that people would consider this only after traditional diet and exercise have failed to reduce the waistline. Otherwise, it seems like a lot to go through, especially with the scarring. I fear that most people who go through this, however, use it as a quick fix. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 17, 2012:

Thanks, lezsaysit. I agree. I know someone who had a tummy tuck and suffered from some of the after effects. It's helpful to know certain things before having the surgery, then weigh the benefits to the adverse effects.

lezsaysit from New York, NY on July 17, 2012:

Very informative and interesting article. This is a very helpful guide to those interested in having a tummy tuck procedure. So often, we think about the glamorous effects and pay lesser attention to what it will cost afterwards to obtain that. It's nice to know there are safe options to help educate us more and understand the different types of scars that could occur during the healing process.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 24, 2012:

slinay - No... I don't want one, but yes... I NEED one! However, no... I won't get one. I'm too scared of the pain.

handyhowto - The tummy tuck photos scare me every time I look at them. I guess I'm using them as a reminder of how much I'm missing out on if I continue to refuse to get a tummy tuck. Mainly, missing out on a lot of pain and down time.

handyhowto from California on April 24, 2012:

I've never seen actual tummy tuck photos. Thanks for including them in your hub.

slinay from New York on April 21, 2012:

No?! Yes?!

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 18, 2012:

stephhicks68, my friend who had her tummy tucked was the co-author of a book that we wrote entitled "Kindercize". Needless to say, she was an avid exerciser. Still, after having three children, she just could not get her tummy back to its original shape. She underwent a tummy tuck to help get her "girlish" figure back. I'm just one of those people who would just wear a girdle to hide the tummy bulge as best as I could. I am truly afraid of the knife. Thank you for visiting my hub and for your feedback.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on April 18, 2012:

Very interesting! I had twins 9 years ago, so the skin on my belly is not what I would like, even though I am in shape and exercise. However, not sure I would undergo (or pay for) a tummy tuck. Great hub -rated up! Steph

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 17, 2012:

Hi Arlene V. Poma! Yes, I hear you! My husband and I are frugal travelers, so $6,000 would cover a couple of vacations, plus a few frills. Still, you never know... With this new information about tummy tucks... I'm just sayin'... (smiling)

Arlene V. Poma on April 17, 2012:

Marlene, thank you for your speedy reply! $6,000 for a tummy tuck? Wow! That's a cruise of the Hawaiian Islands for two, and would probably pay for any tours and extras. And other things you can think of. I am lucky that I am "comfortable in my own skin." I don't consider a tummy tuck or any cosmetic surgery an investment. But entertainers like Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers swear by it.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 17, 2012:

wordscribe43, I know what you mean... (spoken as I lovingly laugh out loud). I refer to the tummy area of my body as the battle bulge, and I have two beautiful daughters to show for it.

Elsie Nelson from Pacific Northwest, USA on April 17, 2012:

I pretty much need one after giving birth to a singleton then TWINS... but alas, I've chosen to wear my "padding" with pride. Great hub with loads of useful information for people considering the procedure, though.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 17, 2012:

Thank you all for your feedback.

CASE1WORKER - I know what you mean. My tummy has never been the same after giving birth to my children.

Beth100 - I'm with you. I don't think I would ever elect to have the surgery if it is just for cosmetic reasons. But, that's just because of the pain involved. I watched my friend who had the surgery go through so much pain. That was all I needed to see.

Simone Smith - Before I wrote this, I didn't know that much about scars, either. Now that I know a little bit more about scars, I think I will do as much as possible to keep away from getting scars on purpose.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 17, 2012:

Very interesting! Before reading this, I knew next to nothing about tummy tucks- and even less about scars. Even though I have no intention of undergoing the procedure, it's nice to get a better understanding of how scars are treated!

Beth100 from Canada on April 17, 2012:

Congratulations on your first entry into the Weekly Topics!

I would not have this procedure myself, but I do know a plastic surgeon, and plenty of women (and a few men) go in for this procedure.

After reading this, I am still convinced that this is NOT the way to go for a shapely body!

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on April 17, 2012:

This is not something that I have ever read about, the whole thing looks quite a job- I have ceasarian scars that have faded over the years but I would not want any more. I know that some women do have the tummy tucks but I guess mine is my badge of pride- 3 kids did this! (oh yes and perhaps a little chocolate too)

Nice hub, voted up

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 16, 2012:

Denise Handlon, thank you for your feedback. This was my first attempt at submitting to the weekly challenge so I was a little bit nervous. I appreciate your comments and support.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 16, 2012:

Thank you Arlene V. Poma for your feedback. Although I could use a tummy tuck on this old body, I don't know if I would ever succumb to such a procedure for myself. I understand that after you pay the surgeon, anesthesiologist, medical room and other fees, the going rate for a tummy tuck is somewhere around $6,000 or more.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on April 16, 2012:

Ok, Marlene-great info and now I want one, haha. I also voted it up/interesting and useful.

Arlene V. Poma on April 16, 2012:

VOTED UP AND INTERESTING! A very thorough Hub on tummy tucks. I now have all of my questions answered on the procedure--and more! I honestly did not know that this procedure leaves a scar. But I find it so interesting that most women know about spotting what other women have done to themselves in the form of cosmetic surgery. Not that I would get anything done on me, but how much do women pay for a tummy tuck?