Center for Plastic Surgery
1945 Old Gallows Road, Suite 400
Tysons Corner, VA 22182
Phone: (703) 560-2850
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Center for Plastic Surgery
5550 Friendship Blvd, Suite 130
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Phone: (301) 652-7700
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

How Will a Tummy Tuck Affect My Tattoo?


Many of the men and women we consult with about tummy tuck surgery at our Washington, DC, practice are concerned about tattoos along the abdomen and how they may be affected by the procedure. Since tummy tucks largely focus on the skin, they can cause some changes in surface features like tattoos. This is something our team of plastic surgeons accounts for when they create custom surgical plans for each patient.

In this blog post, we’ll look at how a tummy tuck may affect a tattoo and review the precautions a skilled, experienced surgeon can take to minimize these changes.

The Tummy Tuck Procedure

A tummy tuck is designed to tighten abdominal skin and muscle to create a slimmer, flatter midsection. During the procedure, your surgeon makes a horizontal incision low on the abdomen, along a natural skin fold. There is also an incision around the navel. In many cases, liposuction is then used to sculpt the midsection and waist by removing excess pockets of fat. Your surgeon then tightens loose muscles, pulls down the skin, and trims away the excess to create a smooth, firm look.  The incision is sutured closed, leaving a scar that can be hidden under a bathing suit or underwear.

For men and women who only want to address concerns below the belly button, we may perform a mini tummy tuck, which involves less stretching of the skin. Learn more about which option may be right for you in this blog post.

Location Is Important

How much the surgery will affect a tattoo mainly depends on the tattoo’s placement.

  • Ribcage or above: Tattoos on the ribcage or higher likely won’t be significantly altered, though there’s a chance they could become stretched.
  • Center of the abdomen: If a tattoo is between the ribcage and belly button, it will likely be stretched and may move slightly down toward the lower abdomen.
  • Lower abdomen: Since the skin is pulled down and the excess is removed, tattoos on the lower abdomen may be partially or completely removed.

Large Tattoo Considerations

In addition to placement, size is another factor that can determine how much your tattoo will change after a tummy tuck. While smaller tattoos that are low on the abdomen might get totally removed when the excess skin is trimmed, larger tattoos are more of a challenge for the surgeon to work with.

For those considering a tummy tuck and are concerned about how it will affect their tattoo, a consultation with a plastic surgeon is the best way to get personalized information. There may be a way to adjust the incision site and the amount of pulling involved to avoid too much distortion of the tattoo.

Your Next Steps

To see real patient examples of how the abdominal skin changes after surgery, please visit our before-and-after tummy tuck photo gallery.

If you think you would benefit from a tummy tuck in Washington, DC, but concerns about tattoos are holding you back, request a consultation at Center for Plastic Surgery to learn more about how you can achieve your best body. Please contact us online or call (703) 560-2850 to make your appointment.

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