Tummy tuck surgery removes excess skin and tissues from the abdominal area to produce a flatter, firmer tummy. While tummy tuck surgery is not a weight loss procedure, it can effectively tighten the skin and remove stubborn fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise routines.
At Dr. Roger J. Oldham’s Bethesda, MD, practice, patients have some concerns about what degree of scarring they can expect after surgery. Tummy tuck scars are an unavoidable side effect of treatment, but Dr. Oldham uses his skill and precision to minimize tummy tuck scars and place them where they can be hidden beneath a bikini. There are further steps that patients can take at home to reduce the appearance of tummy tuck scars.
Clean Incision Sites as Directed
Tummy tuck incisions take time to heal, and scars may appear noticeable during the early days of recovery. However, as the skin continues to heal, scars should fade and become less raised, as long as there are no surgical complications. Although complications are rare, one of the most common risks is infection. An infection at the incision site could delay healing and lead to a darker, thicker scar.
To avoid the risk of infection, patients need to be careful about cleaning incision sites exactly as directed. Dr. Oldham will provide instructions for how to clean incisions, how long to keep the skin covered, and when to change surgical dressings. In addition, patients will be prescribed antibiotics, which should be used as directed to prevent infection.
Keep the Body Nourished and Hydrated
The body’s ability to heal is remarkable, but it will only function at its best if it is properly nourished. We recommend that our Bethesda patients maintain a well-balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients that promote good overall health.
Patients also need to make sure they are drinking plenty of water. Hydration is vital to the healing process, especially where scars are concerned. Hydrated skin is more resilient and suppler, so it should heal with less scar tissue.
Avoid Strenuous Activities
In our post-surgical care instructions, we advise patients to avoid exercise and other strenuous activities for at least six weeks after a tummy tuck. Any activity that stretches or bends the skin around incision sites, can slow down healing. In some situations, incisions may even re-open. Lengthier recovery is more likely to result in a thicker, darker scar, so patients should adhere to all physical restrictions.
Protect the Skin from UV Rays
UV rays are always harmful, but it is especially important that our Bethesda patients avoid the sun while their tummy tuck scars heal. UV rays can compromise healing and change the skin’s pigmentation so that scars stand out even more. Tummy tuck patients should stay out of the sun until incisions have completely healed, and following recovery, the skin should always be protected with sunscreen.
Consider a Topical Treatment
There are many topical treatments that accelerate healing and reduce the appearance of surgical scars. These over-the-counter products include paper tape, silicone gel, and vitamin E oil. Dr. Oldham can discuss these types of products in further detail and help patients find a solution that is best for their skin.
Schedule an Appointment
Tummy tuck surgery helps patients achieve the body contours they desire by eliminating loose, flabby skin from the midsection. If you have questions about tummy tuck surgery or the recovery process, Dr. Roger J. Oldham would be happy to provide you with more information. Contact us at your earliest convenience or call (301) 530-6100 to schedule an appointment.