A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is one of the most popular body contouring procedures for those who have been pregnant or have lost a significant amount of weight. When this happens, you may be left with sagging skin or excess skin around the abdomen. Skin laxity is resistant to diet and exercise. The best way to get rid of excess skin is through a tummy tuck at Centre for Surgery in London at our Baker Street clinic.
While a tummy tuck is very popular, it is one of the few cosmetic surgery procedures where you will be left with a noticeable scar. This can often be off-putting for people who are considering having this procedure. However, it is important to keep in mind that the tummy tuck scar will often look better than the appearance of excess skin in the abdomen. The scars will also naturally fade over time. However, there are some things you can do to help ensure your scar is minimised.
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Before your tummy tuck procedure
Did you know that looking after your tummy tuck scar starts before you’ve even had the procedure?. There are a few pre-operative steps you can take to ensure you have the most discrete scar.
Before abdominoplasty, make sure you:
– Find out about your plastic surgeon: make sure you only go to a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon. Check if they are registered with the GMC and are on the specialist register for plastic surgery. Make sure you meet with your surgeon before having the procedure. Find out how many times they have performed a tummy tuck, and ask to see before and after tummy tuck photos. This way you’ll be able to see how their past surgeries have turned out and will be able to get an idea of how the scar will look on you.
– Stop smoking: smoking can impact the recovery after a tummy tuck. Smoking constricts blood vessels, which leads to low oxygen and cell ischaemia, which can cause complications with wound healing. We recommend that you stop smoking at least six weeks prior to your tummy tuck. You will also need to stop smoking throughout the recovery period. Smoking tests may be carried out prior to you having your procedure. If the surgeon thinks you have been smoking, they may consider the surgery to be too risky, and it may be cancelled.
– Know about your tummy tuck scar: make sure you know exactly where your scar will be located. Different surgical methods will be used, so your scar may look different to what you’ve seen in photographs. You may wish to bring your bikini into the consultation; this will allow you to get an idea of where the scar will be and if it will be visible while you’re wearing your bikini. The positioning of the scar will vary depending on where your excess skin is located.
After your tummy tuck surgery
Following your tummy tuck, there are several steps you can take to ensure your scar looks as good as possible. These include:
– Follow the surgeon’s instructions: The surgeon will give you preoperative instructions which you will need to follow. This will help your wound to heal faster and without the risk of complications occurring.
– Exercise: you will have to avoid vigorous physical exercise for around six weeks. This includes any heavy lifting. If you have young children you have to look after, you will have to consider how they are going to be cared for during this period. Undertaking heavy lifting and abdominal exercise may result in damage to the incision area. While you will have to avoid strenuous exercise, you are encouraged to be mobile as soon as possible. Walking around will help to prevent blood clots and will reduce swelling.
– Monitor the incision site: you may be wearing bandages or compression garments, but it is important to keep checking on the incision site throughout the recovery period. This will avoid the risk of infection occurring. Infection can cause other problems, but may also result in a scar that is larger than necessary. Signs of infection include excessive bleeding, increased swelling or bruising, severe pain, yellowish or greenish drainage seeping from the wound, or a high temperature.
– Stay healthy: staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet can help to increase your immune system, which will help the wound to heal faster. You may wish to take vitamin C supplements or eat a protein-rich diet to help during the recovery period. During the recovery period, it is also important to avoid smoking to ensure you do not have any complications.
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– Use silicone gel or silicone sheets: your surgeon may recommend or prescribe topical silicone gel or sheets for you to use. This should be used once the incision site has totally closed and has no more scabbing. These can help to improve the appearance of the scar when applied regularly.
– Stay out of the sun: for the six months following your procedure, it is important to limit the amount of sun exposure the scar will get. You can do this by wearing protective clothing or by applying sunscreen. When you are applying sunscreen, we recommend using SPF 50+. Scars react differently to the sun than the rest of your skin; if your scar is burnt, it may end up darker than your surrounding skin also known as hyperpigmentation, as well as appear thicker in appearance.
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What happens if you’re still unhappy with the tummy tuck scar?
The recovery period may take up to 12 weeks, however, it may take a full year before the tummy tuck incision scar is fully recovered. After this period, if you have a scar that looks aesthetically unappealing, there are numerous options you can undertake to improve the scar:
– Scar revision surgery: you can undertake a surgical scar revision, which will remove the scar and the surrounding skin. You will then be left with a new scar which will look smaller and neater than your original scar.
– Laser resurfacing: some clinics will offer laser resurfacing as an option to improve the appearance of scars. If you are considering this, it is best to check with your surgeon on how long you will have to wait after your procedure before you can begin having laser treatments.
– RF micro-needling also known as Morpheus8 can significantly improve the appearance of scars by inducing the stimulation of collagen production to result in scar remodelling.
– Non-surgical options: there is a variety of non-surgical options you can undertake to improve the appearance of a scar, including steroid injections, microdermabrasion and chemical skin peels.
If you are considering having a tummy tuck, it is important to remember that tummy tuck surgery results in a visible scar, however, there are effective treatment options to reduce to improve the appearance of these scars, and the thought of a having a scar shouldn’t put you off having the tummy tuck procedure when carried out by an expert surgeon at Centre for Surgery.
Are you interested in having a tummy tuck? This is a procedure Centre for Surgery specialised in. Contact us today to find out more or to book a consultation.