Tummy Tuck Scar Length and Placement

Questions about scar length and location are among the most common concerns that are discussed during a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) consultation. A tummy tuck consists of removing excess skin and “tightening” or repairing the separation of the underlying abdominal muscles (diastasis recti). In order to achieve these goals, it is necessary to make a horizontal incision in the lower abdomen, typically in a skin crease just within the hairline (mons pubis), and extending towards the hips for varying lengths.

Like most aspects of body contouring surgery, the length of the scar is tailored to the patient’s needs. If there is overhanging skin, the tummy tuck scar usually goes to the side (lateral) end of the skin excess. If the scar does not go to the end of this tissue, “dog ears” or remnants of the excess skin are likely to result.

If there is simply “loose” skin with excess fatty tissue, the scar can be limited to the area within the hips. In some instances, when there is very little excess skin and tissue, the scar can be limited further.

There are several other techniques for additional scar placement. The “fleur de lis” tummy tuck includes a vertical midline scar to remove skin in a “side to side” direction and a “reverse” tummy tuck has a scar underneath and across both breasts to selectively remove skin from the upper abdomen.

In addition, almost all patients will have a scar around the inside of their belly button, the exception to this rule is the patient that has a “reverse” tummy tuck or an umbilical “float” procedure, when there is minimal skin laxity or a high positioned belly button.

Although the trend in plastic surgery is with “minimalist” approaches and non-invasive techniques, this usually does not apply to tummy tucks. Short scars often lead to “minimal” results.

Most tummy tuck scars are concealed within undergarments, swimsuits, and even low cut jeans and they fade nicely with time. While there is no “one size fits all” scar, it is a worthwhile tradeoff for the improved shape and contour that a tummy tuck will help you achieve.