Tattoo to Cover Tummy Tuck Scar?

I am thinking about getting a Tummy Tuck. I know I'll have a large scar, which may be visible when I have swimwear on. I am thinking about getting a tattoo to cover up the scar after I have the procedure. How long would I have to wait after the procedure until I got the tattoo? 


F, 42, Florida

Scar cover tattoos are a great cosmetic option if your tummy tuck leaves visible scars on your lower abdomen.

The size and location of tummy tuck scars vary depending on the details of the tummy tuck procedure and whether you underwent a full tummy tuck or a mini tuck procedure.

While not all tummy tucks leave scars above the bikini line -- many do.

Keep in mind that some tummy tuck scars can be quite long -- up to 12 inches or more. You'll want to do your homework and research good design options through Google or Instagram.

Most importantly, you'll want to wait until the tummy tuck healing period has finished before getting a tattoo. The tattooing process can stress the skin and increase the risk of infection.

Before getting a tattoo I advise you consult directly with your plastic surgeon to make sure the healing process is complete and the risk of complications has passed.

Dr. Neil Zemmel has 5 Tummy tuck before & afters:

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Covering up surgical scars with small tattoos is a great idea. I‘ve seen tattoo artists do incredible jobs with amazing tattoos that cover scars in original ways.

First, keep in mind that after tummy tuck surgery, the surgical scar is often located beneath the bikini line -- so you may not need to consider scar coverup tattoos to begin with. Depending on your procedure, the scars can also be located around the navel, or less frequently, running vertically beneath it.

While lower stomach tattoos are more commonly used to cover stretch marks and C-section scars, there's no reason not to tattoo over tummy tuck scars as well.
Tummy tuck scars run horizontally across the lower abdomen and vary in length depending on the specifics of your procedure.

As with tattoo ideas following any plastic surgery, cover-up tattoos for tummy tuck scars should only be considered well after your postoperative healing period is complete. My advice is to wait at least 12 months before getting a tummy tuck tattoo. It's important to give the scars a chance to start fading as it will enable the tattoo artist to better match the colors of the tattoos with the scars.

If you're eager to conceal your tummy tuck scars prior to the 12 month point, you should perhaps consider getting brown henna tattoos, which don't injure the skin like conventional tattoos.

You may also want to hold off planning your tattoo designs until you have a clear visual idea of how your scars heal. Small rose or skull tattoos may not suffice if your tummy tuck scars extend around your hips to your back. In my experience the best tattoos for covering scars are tribal tattoos and floral themes like cherry blossom tattoos. These styles are among the most versatile for scar covering because the designs can easily be extended to match the final length of the scar.

In the rare event that your plastic surgery results in keloid scars, it’s unlikely that even a dark, contrasting tattoo will provide much cover.

Before getting any tattoo postoperatively, I advise that you first discuss it with your plastic surgeon.

Dr. Frederic Corbin has 2 Tummy tuck before & afters:

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Many patients who have undergone abdominoplasty choose to get a tattoo over their incisions to conceal evidence of their scars. There is the option of medical tattoos, which use colors complementary to your skin tone to fade the tummy tuck scar, or cover-up tattoos in contrasting colors that will camouflage scars.

The more popular cover-up tattoo designs can be strings of flowers, stars, abstract shapes or words along the horizontal incision line on your lower stomach. In many cases, patients also have a circular scar around their belly button as a result of tummy tuck surgery, and in these cases other tattoo designs such as a sunburst pattern can effectively conceal the scar.


Surgeons have different guidelines regarding when it’s appropriate to get tattoos after tummy tuck surgery. While some advise waiting at least three months, others recommend waiting two years to ensure the scar has healed. Scars are generally at their most visible three months after surgery and most scars progressively fade from that point onwards.

What most surgeons do agree upon is that a tattoo should only be considered once the post-op healing of the incision site is complete and any residual swelling from the procedure has resolved.

Individuals heal at different rates based on their physical status, age, general health and overall condition. If you commit to tummy tuck surgery, your surgeon will be able advise you when you have sufficiently recovered to go under the tattoo needle.

One advantage of waiting longer before getting a tattoo is that these scars often fade to the point where they are hardly noticeable. If this happens, you may feel a tattoo is no longer necessary. However, this isn’t true for everyone so the option of a well-placed, aesthetically pleasing tattoo to camouflage any scarring can be a good contingency plan.

If you do decide to proceed with a tattoo following your abdominoplasty procedure, be sure to select a tattooist and the design you choose very carefully. Tattoo pigments are not necessarily sterile unless you go to a professional who adheres to the highest hygiene standards and purchases individual sterile pigments. It’s important to avoid the possibility of infection occurring close to the incision site. Careful selection of a design is also paramount as remember, tattoos are permanent.

Dr. Landon Pryor has 2 Liposuction, Tummytuck before & afters:

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Full tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, usually leaves a horizontal scar across the abdomen. During the procedure, the “apron” of abdominal flab and loose skin is removed through an incision made from one side of the abdomen to the other, running the length of this apron of skin. Most tummy tucks also create a circular scar around the belly button.


The location and size of these scars is understandably a source of concern to patients who are worried about the appearance of their stomach after the procedure. However, there are some surgical methods available that enable these scars to be very well concealed.

For some patients, the horizontal incision can be lowered so it is hidden below the waistline of bathing suits, panties or low cut jeans. The scar around the belly button can in some cases be disguised within the belly button itself, making it less visible.

A frank discussion with your potential surgeon about what kind of scarring you can realistically expect will help inform your decision about whether you need a lower stomach tattoo or not. For some patients with significant post-op scarring that won’t fade, tattoos are an ideal way to cover them up.
If you decide you would like a tattoo to conceal any scarring resulting from your abdominoplasty, some surgeons recommend waiting at least six months to a year before getting the tattoo.

However, other surgeons encourage patients to wait as long as two years to ensure the healing process is complete and their tummy tuck results fully evident before committing to a tattoo. This timeline is also recommended because after two years the scar may have faded to the point that a tattoo no longer feels as necessary.

Dr. Jonathan Heistein has 1 Tummytuck before & after:

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You should wait three to six months after the procedure before proceeding with any tattooing. Be aware that the scar may not take up the pigment as well as the surrounding skin

Dr. Christopher Park has 2 Tummy tuck before & afters:

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Generally the scar should be able to be concealed in any swimwear or low undergarment that your wear. I usually want patients to wait 8-12 months for the scar to mature before covering up with a tatoo. Good Luck!

Most of the times the scar of a TT heals well and its location is such that it is easily concealable in a bikini. Depending on patients' preference a tattoo is a good option. I have seen some very good results of a tattoo to camouflage the scar. The best time to have a tattoo procedure done is when the scar has matured. It may take as long as 6 to 18 months for the scar to reach a completion of the maturation. At the end of maturation the scar would reach its end point as far discoloration and stretching is concerned.

I generally have our patients wait approximately 6 months for a tattoo. At our clinic we actually have an aesthetician who can tattoo your own skin color over top if you do not want to decorative tattoo

. Dr. David Whiteman Atlanta Georgia

I would wait at least 2-3 months. The scar may not be wide; bring your swimwear with you, so the surgeon can mark how low he needs to place the scar to hide it; and as a last resort, I have seen one patient who had a vine with leaves and small flowers, but another who had a scar covered by the strings on the bikini.

I usually have the patients wait 3 months to allow the scar to heal so that the pigment placed with the tattoo will be better accepted.

Dear Doglover076,

Let me guess- you like dogs! I know, Iknow. Sometimes I amaze myself. Seriously, though, I personally think this can be a great idea. I had one patient who did this. It happened to be a fairly young man in excellent physical shape except for a roll of loose skin from weight loss. He had a darker skin tone and tended to produce a darker scar. He put a tribal tattoo along the scar and it looked great. Of course, you have to look at what is going to be in keeping with your age, sex, lifestyle, etc. The tattoo that worked on my patient might look a little out of place on a middle-aged woman! 

I would definitely wait until the scar is fully matured and as soft, flat, and as faded as it will get. That will rarely be less than six months, and may be more than a year. Why?  Well, for one thing, you want to see how the scar turns out. I have seen scars so fine and faint that they are barely noticeable and if yours is like that, you may not need or want a tattoo after all. For another, you don't want to put a tattoo on skin or scar that is very metabolically active and changing because this could affect the durability and color of the tattoo pigments. Then, pick something that you know you can live with forever. It could be a simple line of flowers, animals, snake, whatever, or perhaps a saying that means something to you. I am a triathlete so I could imagine an alternating series of figures of a swimmer, bicyclist, and runner. Your imagination is the limit. 

Hope this helps!


R. T. Bosshardt, MD, FACS

Tavares, FL 

At least 1 year, it depends on the stage of the scar is in

That is an excellent idea but I try and place the scar low enough within your smallest undewear that that may not be necessary. I would wait several months if you do decide on the tatoo to allow the scar to mature. 

You would probably want to wait 1 year. But depending on what type of swimwear you wear the incision might be able to be modified to be less noticeable.

I would wait about a year, time for your scar to fully mature and fade before getting a tattoo over the area.

I would wait at least six months before tattooing over a tummy tuck. But, unless you are into tattoos, if you have the procedure done properly the scar might be very inconspicuous. Keep and open mind and don't be in a rush

Dr. Barry Handler has 3 Tummy tuck before & afters:

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If you were my patient I would have you wait a year before having any tattoo to cover your scar. This is something to discuss with your surgeon.

Dr. Arthur Shektman has 1 Tummy tuck before & after:

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Good question. It's pretty common for patients to consider tatooing over surgical scars. I usually don't recommend it until 6 months at least after surgery, as healing takes a good 3-4 months for most patients and final results are not apparent until about 10-12 months. -- Dr. Sayed For more info, Visit Us at Email Us at [email protected] Call Us at 1-858-24SAYED (1-858-247-2933) Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @timsayedmd

Dr. Tim Sayed has 2 Breast augmentation (Saline breast implants), Breast lift, Extended abdominoplasty before & afters:

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