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Mommy Makeover Scars: Tips for Optimal Healing

Published by Dr. Brandon Richland, MD

The majority of moms can relate to the desire for an improved self image. After childbirth, women can experience the desire of their pre-baby body. A mommy makeover is the perfect plastic surgery to get back the confidence and wanted look. Undergoing a mommy makeover surgery is one way many women choose to achieve this. Unfortunately, this procedure requires incisions, and this often leaves visible scars that linger over time.

Learn about common mommy makeover scarring patterns, incisions heal process and how to minimize their appearance and look over time.

Key Takeaways of Mommy Makeover Scars

  • Mommy makeover surgeries can result in visible scarring, but careful incision placement and proper postoperative care can help minimize its presence and visibility.
  • Scar appearance after a mommy makeover depends on the types of procedures performed, factors like skin tone and body type, and individual healing responses.
  • Each procedure poses its own unique scar shapes and size, and challenges for minimizing them.
  • Silicone gel sheets, proper wound care techniques, and avoidance of direct sunlight on affected areas can reduce the risk of excessive scar formations from such surgical procedures.

Understanding Mommy Makeover Scars

After pregnancy most women do not recover their body shape before pregnancy and breastfeeding. This makes them look for options that will help to get the body they want. Mommy makeovers offer the desired body most pregnant women are looking for after pregnancy and breastfeeding.

No matter which procedure is performed, there is always a risk of visible scarring.

All Incisions Create Scars

The skin creates scar tissue as part of the natural healing process when it gets cut during plastic surgery procedures. Factors such as incision placement, size, and individual healing response can impact how noticeable these scars appear following a mommy makeover.

Consultation with a good plastic surgeon, he will provide instructions for proper wound care to reduce scar visibility over time. Products such as silicone sheets or cortisone cream, proper cleansing and moisturizing techniques, and massage therapy, can be used to improve the fading of these scars after they completely heal.

Factors That Affect Scar Visibility

When undergoing a mommy makeover, the visibility of scarring depends on many factors. The amount of sagging present, skin elasticity, underlying medical conditions, and the extent of procedures performed all play a role in how visible the scars are after surgery.

Each procedure poses its own unique surgical challenges. A skilled cosmetic surgeon will place incisions as low as possible to hide scars and ensure they are scarcely visible to the naked eye when wearing revealing clothing or lingerie.

During breast lift and breast implant surgery, surgeons must skillfully manipulate various layers of tissue to preserve nipple sensitivity while minimizing incisions for quicker healing and minimal scarring. Depending if liposuction is required for a woman’s body, contouring purposes may affect if scars will be subtle or more visual.

Common Mommy Makeover Procedures

In a mommy makeover typically procedures done are breasts augmentation, breast lift or fat transfer, abdominoplasty and liposuction. Scars can vary in size and visibility depending on the types of procedures involved, as well as other factors like skin tone and body type.

Breast Lift Scars

Breast lift scars are common when combined with breast implants for a youthful appearance, but due to advances in modern technology and techniques, these scars dramatically minimize over time and hide naturally in creases and folds of the skin.

To promote healing and minimize scarring during wound care, doctors usually advise patients to avoid heavy scrubbing or exfoliation, any activities that pull too tightly on affected areas such as wearing tight clothing, or using lotions containing chemicals known to irritate sensitive healed tissues like fragrant oils.

Tummy Tuck Scars

Tummy tuck incision leaves the largest and most noticeable of all the mommy makeover procedures scars. A tummy tuck involves removing excess skin repositioning of the hips and abdominal muscles, which can leave an extensive scar.

Board certified plastic surgeons try to keep the scars as low as possible to minimize their visibility, particularly when wearing swimwear or lingerie. They can also be hidden in natural creases and folds of the skin where it is less visible, such as below a woman’s bikini line.

Depending on the type of abdominoplasty procedure used, there may or may not be a circular scar around the belly button. With modern technology and techniques, the extent of these scars can often be minimized one way or another using liposuction cannula inserted through each end of the shorter tummy tuck incision.

Liposuction Scars

Liposuction is a common part of a mommy makeover procedure, and typically are small incisions and this makes small scars with minimal visibility. The incisions required are often so small because they only need to allow the surgeon to break up and remove excess fat from the target area.

Compared to other procedures such as tummy tuck or breasts augmentation, liposuction has much less scarring which makes it an ideal option for those who want minimal visible signs of surgery left behind after their mommy makeover plastic surgery.

Image Credit: Dashamuller / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Combination of Scars

A mommy makeover may involve a combination of several procedures, resulting in more than one kind of scar. Breast augmentation scars and lifts, for example, are often accompanied by tummy tuck scars or liposuction scars.

Any incision can result in significant scarring afterwards, and multiple incisions increase the likelihood that these scars will remain noticeable a few months post surgery. Combination scars occur most often when breast augmentations and lifts merge with an abdominoplasty due to similar placement along the chest wall, as well as on the lower abdomen area below the belly button and hip creases creating a double line of closure.

Depending on an individual’s healing abilities, these combined scars could look smooth if properly managed or become raised if not taken care during the mommy makeover recovery period.

Scar Management Techniques and Tips for Mommy Makeover Patients

Proper wound care and scar management techniques from mommy makeovers can greatly affect scar visibility over time.

Silicone Sheets or Gel

Silicone sheets and gel can provide effective scar management for women who have undergone mommy makeover procedures. These silicone products keep the scar moisturized, form a protective barrier against excess skin, and reduce the presence of Platelet Derived Growth Factor which is involved in excessive healing responses that cause hypertrophic and keloid scars.

Silicone gel or sheets need to be applied for several hours at a time. There are few side effects associated with using silicone gel or sheets, such as redness and skin irritation.

Proper Wound Care

Proper wound care for reducing the visibility of the scars and will often determine how successful the outcome from your surgery will be. Specific techniques, such as keeping incisions clean and dry, applying medical grade silicone sheets or gel to provide protection during the healing process, scar massage to improve texture and appearance, avoiding smoking and maintaining proper nutrition can all help reduce scarring after a mommy makeover plastic surgery.

Scar management should begin immediately following surgery to minimize any risk of infections, promote proper healing and reduce visible signs of scarring. When caring for scars post operatively, take into consideration the amount of time it takes for each different kind of incision to heal properly.

Scar Massage

Scar massage is a post surgery technique used to help reduce the visibility of scars from procedures such as mommy makeover. Regular massaging of scar tissue, with oil if desired, improves blood circulation and promotes collagen production to soften the scar and reduce inflammation and tightness.

It also helps to relax and desensitize sensitive areas around the affected area that may be painful or uncomfortable at times. Scar massage should begin as soon as possible after surgery.

When performing scar massage, use gentle pressure and move your hands in a circular motion across parts of the new scar tissue until all areas are thoroughly rubbed. Do this for approximately five minutes per day for several months or longer if necessary.

To get optimum results, patients must ensure following safety precautions including: using proper lubrication for massaging, avoiding vigorous pressure, selecting an appropriate technique based on individual needs, and refraining from picking at scabs.

Medicated Creams and Ointments

Medicated creams and ointments can be used as part of scar management techniques to reduce the appearance of the scars. Topical medications such as over-the-counter corticosteroids, antihistamine creams, and anesthetic ointments are designed to help promote healing and maturation of scars.

Silicone sheets or gels can also be applied over incisions to flatten the resulting scar tissue growth and minimize discoloration and redness associated with a recent surgery. Depending on each unique situation, the doctor may advise which type of medication to use and how frequently they should be applied for best outcomes.

Topical medications alone may not completely diminish the visibility of a scar, but when combined with other scar maintenance methods, can contribute effectively towards minimizing their potential long term impact.

Image Credit: Geargodz / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Timeline of Scar Healing

Scar healing ranges from 6 to 12 months, with a peak of roughness at approximately 3 months after the mommy makeover surgery. A consultation with your experienced plastic surgeon before undergoing surgery is always recommended for an exact scar healing timeline.

Initial Scar Appearance

After a mommy makeover procedure, one may notice that their incision sites are bright red or dark purple in color. This is normal during the initial healing process due to the newly formed blood vessels around these areas. These scars can appear raised or swollen.

Scar Maturation Process

The scar maturation process takes up to 12 to 18 months. During the first few weeks, wounds heal faster and shrink more quickly, closing up into a pinkish line on the skin.

The healing of blood vessels and formation of new collagen along with elastin fibers occurs during 2 to 6 months as they gradually break down the old wound tissue. This helps create smoother transitions between healthy areas, allowing the scars to fade and blend in better with the surrounding area.

As time passes, minor irregularities tend to decrease until final results become visible at 12 to 18 months post surgery, when scars are much lighter than their initial state after surgery.

Realistic Expectations for Scar Visibility

Patients should have realistic expectations regarding scar visibility to avoid complications with their lifestyle choices.

Swimwear and Lingerie Coverage

Swimwear, underwear, and lingerie can be pivotal when addressing the visibility of scars. A correctly chosen style can provide plenty of coverage and hide scarring in areas such as the abdominals, thighs and arms.

When choosing a swimsuit or lingerie style that covers your incisions from a mommy makeover, identify cuts that will not draw attention to them. For instance, high waisted bikini bottoms which go up slightly above the navel level provide better coverage for lower abdominal scars compared to low cut styles.

Opting for form fitting tank tops rather than strapless bikinis or crop top styles if you have had upper chest procedures performed, may hide visible scarring near midsections or the shoulder area.

Scar Placement and Clothing Choices

The visibility of scars can be affected by the type of procedure, amount of sagging skin, and individual genetics. With advancements in technology and techniques, many patients are able to have minimal scarring that can be hidden in natural creases or folds in the skin.

Selecting garments such as swimwear or lingerie with increased coverage often helps conceal the scars from a mommy makeover. It’s of course also important to remember that lifestyle choices such as minimizing sun exposure, staying hydrated, and following a healthy diet can minimize the appearance of post procedural scarring over time.

Plastic surgeons will do their best to ensure minimal visible scarring but it’s up to individuals to select an ideal garment for coverage if they desire discretion after their plastic surgery procedures are completed.

Factors That Impact Scar Healing and Recovery

Several factors impact scar healing and recovery, but these are often patient-led and can be managed for better and quicker healing.

Individual Healing Response

Individual healing responses can significantly influence the overall scarring process after a mommy makeover. Factors such as age, weight, health, and genetics can all play an important role in how someone’s skin reacts to the surgery and its subsequent healing.

Compliance or non compliance with post operative care instructions, including incision cleaning and protection from environmental factors like sun exposure can have an impact on the results.

Each individual will heal differently, resulting in varying timelines for recovery and scar visibility over time.

Surgeon’s Technique and Skill

A skilled board certified plastic surgeon whose technique can greatly impact the healing process and ultimately determine the results of scars.

Reputable doctors use advanced surgical techniques proven to minimize side effects, downtime, as well as scarring for both short term and long term benefits.

Women seeking to gain cosmetic improvements through mommy makeovers should ensure that they select not only qualified, but also a highly experienced surgeon who has extensive experience in performing such procedures with proven, excellent results in scar management. All these go into optimizing outcomes significantly towards improved patient satisfaction post surgery.

Proper Post Operative Care

Post-op care is a critical part in having a successful recovery. To minimize scars, providing early and consistent wound care once the incisions have closed is essential.

This involves regular cleaning of the incision sites with warm soap and water or saline solution, followed by an application of ointment or cream prescribed by the physician, such as silicone gel or hydrocortisone ointment.

Patients can also massage scar areas twice daily with lotion for at least 10 minutes each session to aid in collagen production. In some cases, wearing compression garments around incisions may further help reduce scars.

Proper nutrition is also beneficial. Eating a balanced, healthy diet rich in protein can speed up tissue regeneration resulting in more clear looking skin after surgery.

Image Credit: Armmypicca / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Revision Options for Visible Scars

Moms who have a hard time minimizing their scar appearance can opt for scar revision procedures.

Scar Revision Surgery

Scar revision surgery is a procedure commonly used to minimize the appearance of scars, including those resulting from mommy makeover procedures such as breast lifts scars, tummy tucks scars or liposuction scars.

The goal of scar revision surgery is simply to make the scar blend in with the surrounding skin and help restore an individual’s self confidence and self esteem. Recovery time depends on the specific case, and involves rest and modified activities for several weeks.

Non Surgical Scar Treatments

Non surgical scar treatments are a great way to improve the appearance of scars without undergoing surgery. Non surgical methods can be used in combination with other techniques to help reduce the visibility and texture of incision lines.

Common non surgical treatments include silicone sheets, scar cream or gel, proper wound care, scar massage and topical medications.

Medicated creams and ointments can provide hydration which helps minimize the formation of keloid scars after surgical intervention. They act as moisture barriers that protect the skin from environmental stressors while aiding collagen synthesis and cell regeneration.

Laser Therapy Options

Laser therapy is an increasingly popular procedure for reducing scar visibility and improving skin texture. The laser emits a focused beam of light that works to precisely remove irregular layers from the skin’s surface, down to the dermis layer, in order to even out the appearance of scars.

This stimulates collagen production which helps flatten and soften scar over time. This photo thermal energy reaches deep into intra and extracellular structures within healing tissue, which may result in eventual remodeling of dermal tissue.

While laser treatments can provide impressive results with minimal side effects for some individuals, it is important to discuss all potential risks and concerns before beginning treatment with a medical specialist.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mommy Makeover Scars

1. What is a Mommy Makeover?

A mommy makeover is a combination of surgical procedures designed to restore the breasts and body after pregnancy and childbirth. Popular treatments include breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tuck, and skin tightening.

2. Are There Scars Associated With a Mommy Makeover?

Yes, scarring can result from any invasive procedure, however most incisions used for a mommy makeover are carefully placed in areas that can be hidden beneath clothing or swimsuits so they appear less noticeable as time passes. Like all other surgeries, this procedure comes with scars, but with great care the incisions heal faster.

Image Credit: Anatoliygleb / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Conclusion and Summary of Mommy Makeover Scars: Tips for Optimal Healing

When considering a mommy makeover, scars can be an important factor to consider. It is recommended to follow the advice of the board certified plastic surgeons to help minimize the visibility of scars and promote proper healing.

All incisions create scarring, but with proper care and post operative instructions these marks will become unnoticeable over time. It’s even possible for mommy makeover scars to completely disappear completely through scar revision surgeries. With all the advanced scar treatments widely available, you won’t have any reason to worry about feeling self conscious about any unsightly marks from mommy makeover procedures.

Please note that this article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Before making any changes to your treatments, please consult with your healthcare provider to discuss the appropriateness and safety of such changes.

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About the Author

Dr. Brandon Richland, MD is a respected Board Certified Licensed Plastic Surgeon in Orange County / Southern California specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries.

Driven by his passion for medicine, Dr. Richland obtained his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the prestigious program at Saint Louis University (SLU) School of Medicine in 2013. His exceptional skills were recognized when he received the McGraw Hill / Lange Medical Student Academic Achievement Award, and graduated top of his class with Honors. For his undergraduate degree, he attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and graduated with Honors in 2009.

To further enhance his surgical expertise, Dr. Richland completed his Residency in Plastic Surgery at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) from 2013 to 2019 earning the Academic Achievement Award twice during this period. A total of 14 years in dedicated schooling and medical residency.

Dr. Richland is actively involved with healthcare and medical societies, as a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Contact Dr. Richland today by visiting RichlandMD.com, scheduling a cosmetic consultation, or by calling 714-241-0646 or 949-945-0025 directly.