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 board-certified 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 remove select fat tissue and sculpt the midsection and waist. 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.
Effects on Tattoos
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 trimmed, 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 tattoos 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 those considering a tummy tuck who are concerned about how it will affect their tattoo, a consultation with a board-certified 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 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 the 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.