Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in getting breast augmentation and a tummy tuck. I have had a child and am not planning on any more. I have numerous tattoos across my rib cage. My concern is what will happen with my tattoos when my breasts get bigger and my stomach skin is pulled downward. I have attached pictures which show where my tattoos are and the location of where my stretchmarks are on my stomach. Will these tattoos be affected by these procedures and will my stretchmarks still be visible after surgery?
A: While it is true that breast implants do stretch out the overlying breast skin and a tummy tuck has a downward pull on the upper stomach skin, their distorting effects on the outer skin are limited to the local area. Given that your tattoos are located on the side of your rib cage, they will not be affected at all by either breast augmentation or a tummy tuck. The tattoos are simply too far away to be altered. In regards to your stomach stretch marks, however, these will be dramatically changed by the tummy tuck procedure. In a full tummy tuck, all stretch marks that lie between the belly button and the pubis will be permanently removed with the skin and fat that has been cut out. Those stretch marks that lie above the belly button will be pulled down lower with the skin closure of the tummy tuck. With the creation of a new belly button, many women will have no stretch marks or loose skin around this central indentation. Some stretch marks may remain but they will be below the belly button closer to the low horizontal scar.
Dr. Barry Eppley