A tummy tuck surgery typically requires a hip-to-hip incision underneath the bikini area to hide the resulting scar. However, a small percentage of patients may have to accept a “surgical mark” positioned higher than ideal to achieve a near normal contour.
Tummy tuck scars are sometimes positioned higher than the bikini line particularly if there is a significant amount of redundant skin in the upper abdomen, which may occur after massive weight loss.
If the underwear does not hide the scar, tummy tuck tattoo is a great option to cover up the surgical stigmata. However, it is ideal to wait for at least a year to make sure that it has fully matured—i.e., has settled and achieved its “best” appearance—before camouflage tattooing or any type of scar revisions is attempted.
While the wound is clinically healed but the scar is still considered “immature,” about three weeks postop, some Beverly Hills plastic surgeons recommend silicone sheets or tapes that create a moist environment known to promote “favorable” scarring in which it appears flat and thin and blends well with the skin.
In addition, silicone sheets can hold the scar in place and minimize the tension on the skin, preventing it from becoming wide and uneven.
Scar massage wherein the goal is to break down the scar tissue by massaging it in a circular manner and/or stretching it can also improve its appearance.
To achieve optimal results, these “simple” scar treatments must be continued for at least six months.
While the aforementioned remedies—together with proper wound closure at the time of surgery—often result in fine scars one year postop, some patients are simply susceptible to aggressive scars. According to studies, younger age, infection during tummy tuck recovery, darker complexion, and history of keloids are risk factors.
If scars remain unattractive a year after tummy tuck that is when camouflage tattooing might be considered. This involves meticulous color mixing so the marks will blend well with the skin.
Camouflage tattoos typically require two sessions for longevity.
If the goal of medical tattooing is to make the scars look just like the surrounding skin, it only works on hypopigmented scars which appear lighter than the “normal” skin tissue. Meanwhile, patients with hyperpigmented or dark scars are not good candidates for the procedure.
Cover-up tattooing is another great option in which designs can range from a string of flowers or stars to abstract patterns on and around the scars.