Like any surgical procedure requiring an incision, the formation of incision lines following abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is unavoidable. That said, the main incision I typically utilize at my practice is often shorter in length and placed lower on the abdomen than most traditional techniques, often enabling patients to conceal the scar underneath the majority of underwear and swimsuit varieties. Many traditional abdominoplasty incisions would “angle” up at the ends, making it difficult to conceal on the sides. I perform a low-lying incision and even mark the incisions before surgery with the patient in their preferred swimsuit so as to optimize the placement of the incision line. In most cases, an additional, tiny incision will be made inside the belly button, though this scar tends to be virtually indistinguishable once fully healed.
Both during and after surgery, I employ several advanced techniques to help ensure the final appearance of tummy tuck scarring is as inconspicuous as possible. Once excess skin has been removed and muscles of the abdominal wall have been tightened, I gently pull the remaining skin taut and meticulously close the incision using small sutures in multiple layers. This is done with extreme care, making sure the skin is meticulously approximated together in an optimal position for healing. In addition to this careful suturing method, I utilize a unique, three-step process to improve the healing and final appearance of incision lines. This approach involves a trio of innovative techniques: the DERMABOND® PRINEO® Skin Closure System, embrace® Active Scar Defense, and bioCorneum®+ silicone gel scar cream.
First, the DERMABOND® PRINEO® Skin Closure System is placed over the incision at the time of surgery, and it remains there for three weeks. Next, embrace® Active Scar Defense is employed for “skin tension unloading.” This scar management method consists of a silicone “sheet” designed to protect the incision from movement-related stress by contracting overtop the scar and helping to neutralize undue strain or tension. Both the silicone sheet and tension unloading are optimal for ideal incision healing and achieving minimal incision lines. Lastly, the third step is to use bioCorneum®+ silicone gel scar cream. Once applied, this advanced cream forms an indistinguishable silicone layer overtop the incision, protecting it from detriments such as sun damage and bacteria while also helping to smooth and soften the final appearance of the incision line. (For more information about this three-step scar management process, read: “Dr. Boynton’s Approach to Scar Management – Easy as 1, 2, 3.”)
I have found that these techniques help to greatly limit the visibility of postoperative scarring for my tummy tuck patients, though the final appearance will ultimately vary on an individual basis. Additional factors that can impact scarring include how much skin is removed, the body’s natural healing response, how closely aftercare instructions are followed, and simply even genetics – all of which should be discussed in full detail at the time of your consultation.