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?
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 11 Tummy Tuck before & afters:
I have seen some tattoos that turn scars into beautiful works of art. It's a great idea and it's one of the most effective ways of concealing a surgical scar.
I can't offer you any direct medical advice without an in-person examination, but I can provide you with a few pieces of general advice before tattooing over your scars.
First, incisions from abdominoplasty surgery typically leave a scar which runs horizontally across the lower abdomen. The resulting scars from your abdominoplasty procedure are often located beneath the bikini line -- although there may also be small circular scars around the belly button as well.
If your primary concern is that your scar will be visible with swimwear on, you may not need a tattoo at all. I would discuss scar locations with your plastic surgeon before planning your tattoos.
Second, even a large abdominoplasty scar will fade over time, often blending in very well with the surrounding skin. If you've already decided to get a tattoo, it's worth waiting the extra time for the end result of your scar to be visible. Your initial design ideas may be influenced by the initial high-visibility of the scar. You may not need excessive black ink or dark colors to hide the scar once it has faded nicely.
Third, for the reasons discussed above, and to reduce the risk of infection, I advise waiting at least one year after your procedure before heading to the tattoo parlor.
Finally, talk to your plastic surgeon before getting a tattoo over a keloid scar. There are additional complications that can occur when inking over keloids. For patients who have keloids, the best strategy is often to tattoo only the normal skin around the scar. A skilled tattoo artist should be able to work the shape of the keloid scar tissue into the tattoo design rather than attempting to cover it up.
Always remember to visit a board-certified plastic surgeon for best results and best practices.
Dr. Kimberly Henry has 2 Tummy tuck before & afters:
That's a great idea. I've seen some wonderful stomach tattoo designs used to cover up scars from abdominal cosmetic surgery. Remember that the tattooing process inherently involves the risk of infection from the intradermal deposition of tattoo inks. I recommend waiting a year or so after your surgery to allow the healing process to finish before visiting a tattoo artist.
In my experience it's more common to cover up C-section scars with tattoos than it is to cover tummy tuck scars. Tattooing over scars from a tummy tuck procedure is a little less common because we're usually able to make the incision safely out of sight below the bikini line. Still, there's no reason you can't get a tattoo to cover a scar beneath the bikini line as well.
Be sure you check with your plastic surgeon if you're considering getting a new tattoo before the six month mark though. Don’t expect tattoo artists to ask responsible medical questions like "is the scar fully healed?" before inking the scarred area.
While it may be tempting to start searching for scar tattoo ideas and Googling images of all the amazing tattoos that turn scars into works of art, my advice is to allow for enough healing time before making any creative decisions. It’s important to allow the scar tissue to fully form because different people scar in different ways. As you know, tattoos are permanent so it's best to see what your scar looks like before considering any scar cover-up tattoos.
A note of caution regarding the kind of scar you have:
If you’re prone to keloid scars or have a family history of them you may wish to reconsider your tattoo plans because tattoos can potentially increase the risk of keloid scarring. If your abdominoplasty scar has already developed keloid scarring, talk to your plastic surgeon before adding any tattoo ink which covers the scar itself. In most cases of keloid scarring, the best solution is to keep the ink clear of the scar tissue and tattoo the surrounding healthy skin instead.
Belly tattoos and back tattoos can be very effective ways to cover up plastic surgery scars.
Keep in mind, though, a tummy tuck incision is often made below the bikini line anyway. Even without getting a tattoo it's likely that you'll be able to hit the beach or wear crop top shirts without showing the world you’ve had tummy tuck surgery.
The location of a tummy tuck incision depends on the specifics of your procedure and how much loose skin your plastic surgeon has to work with. For thinner patients who get a tummy tuck just to remove stretch marks, the scar may need to be placed slightly higher. But in most cases the primary incision can be made safely out of view below the bikini line.
Tummy tuck surgery doesn’t have any effect on the skin above the belly button, so if you're trying to conceal a stretch mark in the mid abdomen/stomach area a single belly tattoo is a popular strategy.
I have seen a few patients get good quality lower stomach tattoos to cover scars and in many cases the scars were rendered nearly invisible.
While you’re probably already thinking of tattoo ideas, you’ll probably want to wait and see exactly how long your scar is going to be, and how well it heals, before committing to any specific tattoo designs.
Generally speaking, the best cover up tattoos are long-form patterns like tribal designs, floral tattoos, and other custom designs which can be extended to any length and made to match the length of your scar.
After your surgery, I advise waiting at least six months before heading to the tattoo shop to make sure that your swelling has gone down and the incision has healed successfully. Not only do tattoos pose a risk for skin and systemic infections but your scar needs enough time to fully develop before you can make any creative decisions.
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:
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.
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
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:
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:
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. http://www.timsayedmd.com/body-plastic-surgery-newport-beach/tummy-tuck/ -- Dr. Sayed For more info, Visit Us at http://www.timsayedmd.com Email Us at email@example.com 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:
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 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: