July 2023

Optimizing Your Tummy Tuck Scars:
Getting The Best Results Possible 

Trading A Scar For An Hourglass Figure

A tummy tuck surgery is a transformative procedure that is by far the most effective way to rejuvenate your abdomen and waist after pregnancy. In contrast to less invasive options like liposuction, an abdominoplasty has the advantage of better shaping your midsection by removing excess skin and stretch marks while tightening the abdominal muscles. Surgical techniques like rectus plication and corset muscle tightening where the oblique muscles are also tightened produce a powerful hourglass effect that moms love, especially after being round and pregnant.

The downside of a tummy tuck for most is trading the loose skin and fat for a horizontal scar located low on the abdomen and around the belly button. Since tummy tucks are the gold standard for abdominal rejuvenation, and because we know that moms love their new body makeover, we make every effort to optimize the surgical scars so that, once fully healed, they are negligible at best.

We review how we accomplish this below.

Research Tummy Tucks

Placement of The Incision Scars 

In every instance, Dr. Burns places the tummy tuck incision low on the abdomen so that it is concealed under most underwear and bikini bathing suit bottoms.  No matter the tummy tuck technique, the incision can be placed as low as 6 cm above the vaginal cleft and extends outwards as far as necessary to remove loose, stretched skin and stretch marks while eliminating excess skin on the edges of the incision (dog ears).

The length of the incision depends on the amount of excess skin and fat and is categorized as follows:

1.  Mini tummy tucks and Tiny tummy tucks: the incision rests inside the hip bones

2.  Standard: the incision goes from hip bone to hip bone

3.  Extended: the extended incision is horizontal, reaching from beyond the hip bones onto the flanks (love handles)

4.  Circumferential body lift: the incision extends all the way around the abdomen and back (used in massive weight loss patients with abdominal muscle separation and shelf of excess skin called a pannus)

Meticulous Surgical Incision Closure

Getting a beautiful incision line is achieved in a four part process where we address the abdominal fascia, the deep dermis, the epidermis, and we strategically reinforce the tummy tuck incisions before all is said and done. 


Sewing of the incision must be precise and multi-layered. The support is initially established by sewing the underlying fascia layer with larger sutures known as Scarpa’s Fascia Layer.

Deep Dermis

The next layer that is closed is the deep skin layer called the deep dermis (reticular dermis). When done correctly, the skin edges should be slightly everted so that the scar won’t widen as it heals.

Superficial Skin Layer

Finally, the abdominal skin where you see the visible scars from tummy tuck surgery (the epidermis) is closed by running a suture just under the surface to bring the skin together and seal the incision closed.


Surgical band-aids called Steri-strips are placed across the incision to take pressure off the skin edges. We often use surgical glue called Dermabond to seal the incision closed and take tension off the skin edges.

Tummy Tuck Results


The Bikini Incision: How Low Can You Go?


Before and After Tummy Tuck Results

What Can I Expect My Scars To Look Like After A Tummy Tuck?

During the early stages of healing your abdominoplasty scar will appear red and visible. As the incision heals, the incision will progress though the following stages of wound healing:

Inflammatory: Early healing where the incision is prepared for healing: 24-72 hours

Proliferative: The incision heals and seals shut: 4-24 days

Maturation: The incision becomes mature by replacing new collagen with mature collagen: 21 days to 2 years

As you heal, your incision line will become less and less visible. Once healed and mature, your tummy tuck scar will be a fine white line which should be easily concealed by underwear or a bikini bottom.

Post-surgery Care of Tummy Tuck Scarring

Taking care of your incisions post-operatively is the second most critical part to getting a beautiful and well-healed result and helps to avoid complications like hypertrophic scars. We recommend you follow all of your aftercare instructions and adhere to these additional recommendations:

Keep The Sun Off of Your Incisions After Surgery! 

UV light will cause a new surgery scar to tan much quicker than the skin around it. Prominent, darkened scars scream plastic surgery, so you'll want to keep these covered even after you've been cleared for the beach.

No matter your skin type, we recommend EltaMD sunblock because it is the most effective medical-grade SPF product available to ensure you're healing abdomen is completely protected.

Early Care

In the first 2 weeks, it is important to keep the incision clean and apply antibiotic ointment. We generally recommend a polysporin or Bacitracin. A thin layer of Aquaphor is also very helpful in keeping the incision line moist to heal well. At 2 weeks we recommend medical grade skincare, continued use of daily spf, and silicone sheeting.

Dr. Burns' top recommendations for scar care are topical treatments called Skin Medica Scar Recovery Gel and Biocorneum Silicone Gels.

2-4 Months After Surgery

Laser therapy provides additional collagen stimulation and retexturing effect needed to minimize the appearance of surgical scarring. While it's not a requirement for getting a fabulous result, our patients who model and participate in fitness competitions love the additional option for abdominal scar refinement.

Our most popular laser for this scar rejuvenation is ClearSilk, available at EpiCentre Skincare & Laser Center.

The EpiCentre Scar Care Package

All of our tummy tuck patients are referred to EpiCentre for evaluation of surgical scars for laser treatments. While these treatments are optional, we do recommend them to optimal healing and scar quality. 


The Corset Tummy Tuck


Before and After Tummy Tuck and BBL- Dr. John Burns

Optimized For Beautiful Results

When Dr. Burns does his part in the operating room and you do your part by caring for your incisions post-surgery, your scars will be not be the focus, and you'll be able to fully enjoy a your beautiful abdomen and tight waist! 

 We invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Burns to review your goals and receive his best recommendation for your unique figure. Virtual and in-office consults available. Get started at the link below. 

Complimentary Consult

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