What Can Be Done to Correct a High Tummy Tuck Scar?

I have a tummy tuck scar thats too high. The most important factor in getting a tummy tuck for me was to have it hidden well below my bikini line. I was told the scar could be undesirable but the scar will be hidden under even a small bikini. This is why I decided to go through the surgery. I had the surgery about 2 yrs ago, the skin is tight & I'm wondering if there is a procedure that can be done so it can be lowered. The scar is 3 inches above my most modest bikini. Its ruined my self-esteem

Doctor Answers (6)

Anchoring sutures

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Thank you for your post. It is not common for surgeons to anchor the lower incision to the fascia or covering of the abdominal muscles to keep the scar low, however, I do use this technique and agree with it. All the tension on the incision is from above, not below, and thus the scar tends to move toward the area of maximal tension (towards the ribs/bellybutton). This moves the scar higher than desired. I like to keep my scars very low, and feel that anchoring the scar helps accomplish this. The following photo is an example of this.


Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Changing the Position of a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Scar

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I'm sorry that the outcome of your surgery did not match with your preoperative wishes, Ashley.

If there is some laxity of your skin the scar can be lowered by excising a strip of skin between your scar and your pubic hair line. However, if your skin is tight it is unlikely that the scar could be lowered by three inches in a single operation.

It may be possible to lower the scar to hide it below your bikini line by having a series of skin excisions, spaced 6-12 months apart. If the excisions are staged 6-12 months apart this may allow your abdominal skin to develop sufficient laxity to bring the scar down to a level you are happy with.

Scars heal best when they are not under tension, so going to extreme lengths to lower the scar may mean that the scar is slightly wider or pinker, but most patients hold the view that any scar that can be covered by a bikini is less noticeable than a scar that can't be covered by a bikini.

I recommend that you make an appointment with a plastic surgeon so that you can be examined and advised on what options you have. If your scar is very close to your new belly button position this will make it even more challenging to reposition your scar, because your belly button is tethered to a specific point on the abdominal wall.

 

Jill Tomlinson, MBBS, FRACS
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon

Initial incision placement is the most important factor in final scar location.

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I am sorry your scar is unsatisfactorily placed; I hope the skin removal and muscle tightening has given you the major improvements that tummy tuck surgery provide. But a scar that is visible or unsightly can indeed overshadow the positive aspects of this surgery, and you are well-advised to discuss this with your surgeon, or another ABPS-certified plastic surgeon in your area.

As my colleagues have stated, unless significant additional skin laxity remains, significant lowering of your scar is generally not possible. There are surgical options including tissue expander placement between the scar and your umbilicus, that could provide additional skin that might allow lowering of the scar, but this is an "extreme" solution that not only is expensive but requires at least 2 more surgeries.

Other than this, only subtle improvements would be possible via scar revision. Sorry to be the bearer of bad (but honest) news. The best position is the one obtained at the initial operation. For several examples of tummy tuck scar placement at initial surgery in various stages of healing and scar maturation, click on the link below. Best wishes!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

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Significant Lowering Of Tummy Tuck Scar Unlikely

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The ability to lower a tummy tuck scar depends on the residual amount of skin laxity both above and below the existing scar. Since you describe the skin as tight, it seems unlikely any significant lowering can be achieved. But even with some loose skin, there is no way it is going to be lowered by 3 or more inches.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Lowering tummy tuck scar

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Scar placement is important and I recommend that patients bring their favorite underwear so I can decide how and where to place the scar.  Sometimes the scar can be lowered, if you have more skin laxity so it can be "pulled down" and resutured.  I am very surprised that the critical goal for you in having the surgery was to hide the scar under a bikini because most women undergo surgery because they are displeased with the contour of the abdomen and excess skin.  I recommend that you see your plastic surgeon in consultation to discuss what, if anything, can be done.

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Tummy Tuck Scar Revision

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Thank you for your question.

It is difficult to give you good advice without a physical examination.  Sometimes it is possible to lower the scar but there has to be some skin "laxity" to do so.

My suggestion is to visit with your surgeon and/or other plastic surgeons to discuss your options after an examination.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 710 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.