Many women seek out tummy tucks, but while most of them understand the basic process of the tummy tuck to remove excess skin and smooth away lumps and bumps that weight loss and pregnancy may have left behind. But a tummy tuck isn’t as simple as checking in, smoothing out the tummy and then waltzing out again. There is a lot that goes on with a tummy tuck that patients need to be aware of.
Drains for a Tummy Tuck
The first thing that takes most potential patients aback is the presence of drains following the surgery. A tummy tuck surgery removes a great deal of tissue from the body and there would naturally be a great deal of swelling in the healing process. With a tummy tuck, surgeons will put drains in place throughout the abdomen. These skinny tubes help to collect fluids that accumulate in the area and help it drain away. Patients will be required to empty the drains on a daily basis to remove the packets of fluid.
All surgery requires a scar remains behind, but a tummy tuck procedure requires a very large scar. After a tummy tuck surgery, the patient will be left with a scar that “smiles” from one hipbone to the other. In some cases, the extended tummy tuck may leave a scar that goes even past the hipbones to smooth out the midsection. While a surgeon will try to keep the scar small enough to fit behind regular underpants and swimsuits, there is a possibility that the scar will be visible following surgery.
Abdominoplasty requires the surgeon work not just with the skin, but with muscles as well. The abdomen pulls the muscles tight and the skin even tighter. This will make it hard to stand or walk for the first days following surgery, but careful, frequent movement will speed along the recovery time as the body adjusts to the surgery. Still, patients should plan on spending at least two weeks recovering from the surgery before returning to work.
A tummy tuck creates an amazing result as far as the flatness of the belly is concerned, but that tightly contoured abdomen has a side effect that can be unpleasant for many women. Usually as tummy tuck scar fades away to a silvery line crossing the lower body just under a swimsuit or a pair of panties. But for some women, the scar that remains after a tummy tuck is unattractive or even painful.
Removing the Tummy Tuck Scar
A tummy tuck scar can be removed or at least lessened considerably through certain procedures. Since surgeons are never sure how a scar will form, it’s impossible to know if the scar from a particular procedure will form a large red keloid result or if it will appear off center or show in a swimsuit despite his best intentions – of course some swimsuits would show practically everything, so tummy tuck patients should take care when buying a two-piece suit.
Laser Scar Removal
Tummy tuck scars can be removed through laser technology. The laser technology burns the scar away so that only a faint line or residual coloration is left. It may take several treatments for the laser scar removal to work fully and patients considering laser scar removal should be prepared to have multiple appointments.
It’s also important for those considering laser treatment to wait until the scar has had a chance to form completely. Often scars can take considerable amounts of time to fully heal and fade. The incision that creates the scar will be healed months before you may even see the dark red start to disappear. As the nerves continue to heal there may be some itching and discomfort from the scar as well. After six months to a year, if scarring remains uncomfortable and highly visible, discuss the possibility of removal with a surgeon.
Outside of the surgical risks and recovery, a lingering concern for many women considering a tummy tuck is the amount of scarring that remains following the surgery. While the tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, procedure requires a large incision to complete, the scar often does not detract from the overall result in the vast majority of cases.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
In a tummy tuck, the surgeon cuts a long incision that spans the distance from one hipbone to the other. He then removes a large portion of skin from below the navel. With the underlying tissue and muscles exposed, the surgeon uses stitches to tighten the muscles again before pulling the remaining skin down over the lower abdomen, creating a new belly button and finally closing the large incision with staples. The resulting scar stretches across the incision reaching from one side of the hips to the other, looking much like a large smiling face.
The Tummy Tuck Scar
The scar that is left from the procedure will be bright red and very obvious in the first months following surgery. As the scar continues to heal, it will fade in most cases to become a faint white line that is nearly invisible. In some cases, the majority of the scar is even hidden in the top of the pubic region. In some cases, the scar develops a raised, dark quality. These raised scars can be uncomfortable for patients, but fortunately then can be removed or diminished using laser technology.
Regardless of how the final scar develops, the patient is able to benefit from the location of the scar. The scar, although very large across the lower abdomen, is hidden completely by standard bikini swimsuits or underpants. While portions of the scar may be visible in certain swimsuits or undergarments, it is possible to cover the scar completely leaving no indication of the surgery outside of the flat, slender belly left behind.