To ensure you know what to expect, here is some detailed information on tummy tuck scarring.
The Reason You Scar
Scarring is a natural part of the body’s wound healing process. Scars form to protect your skin from further infections and complications, which is why scars develop over tummy tuck incisions once they’ve been sutured.
To create a scar, the body produces collagen, which helps seal the skin to protect it from the external environment. Blood supply to the area will also increase during the first few weeks to help the scar to form, but this can also make the scar look darker and more intense. Once your skin has healed and blood supply returns to normal, the scar will begin to fade and become thinner, a process that can take up to two years.
Dealing with Scars that Don’t Fade
Patients who end up with visible tummy tuck scars that don’t fade will have produced more collagen than was necessary during the recovery process. When too much collagen is produced, it causes a raised scar that is darker in colour. These types of scars are called hypertrophic or keloid scars. Any top tummy tuck specialist, such as Dr Anh, will do everything possible to minimise scarring but there is nothing you can do to control the amount of collagen your body produces after surgery.
6 Ways to Minimise the Appearance of Tummy Tuck Scars
Scarring cannot be prevented after a tummy tuck but there are steps that you can take to make them fade and lighten.
- Follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions. Your surgeon will assist you with recommendations on how you can minimise the appearance of your scars. Follow these instructions as carefully as you can.
- Keep your wounds clean. Avoid exposing your tummy tuck scar to anything that could contaminate the area and make a point of keeping the wound as clean as you can. Unnecessary infections will only make scarring worse.
- Use a topical cream. One thing you should never do is pick the scab that forms over your incision site. Using a scar cream will also accelerate the skin’s healing process and minimise the appearance of scarring.
- Keep your wound out of the sun. By exposing your abdomen to the sun, you run the risk of darkening your scars. Rather keep your stomach covered until your skin has healed completely.
- Keep your skin moisturised. Keeping your skin moisturised is another way to enhance the skin’s healing process. Just don’t apply any creams to wounds that are still open.
- Stick to comfortable clothing. Tight-fitting clothing will only irritate your skin, so stick to comfortable clothing until your wounds and skin have healed. It also helps to use fragrance-free products that won’t irritate your skin unnecessarily.