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Tummy Tuck Scar Healing Years Later?

I had a tummy tuck 5 years ago. The surgeon did not place a tummy bandage over the surgery afterwards because " the nurse" forgot to order it? He made shift a dressing bandage . It had jagged edges from the tear. It embedded into the incision site. I had to to return 1week later. I had a hole as big as a quarter. It tooks 1 year to heal completely closed. Scar tissue was thick. I never complained. Just been dealing w/it. It is a lot less....still..hurts when I stretch/walk/bend. Will it ever go away? Scar tissue is still felt under the the umbilical area. Does the scar tissue ever breakdown on its own after a tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers (19)

Does scarring get better after a tummy tuck?

+2

At 5 years (or 4 years since the wound healed), your scars are mature and stable.  To answer your question, scars do change and soften and lighten a lot as they are in the process of maturing, which can be 1+ years.  Things like massage, sun avoidance, silicone gels and tapes can all help encourage scar maturation during the initial healing phases.  However, you are pretty far out from surgery and any future changes will likely be very minimal to none.  I would recommend talking with a plastic surgeon who can examine you and discuss scar revision. 


Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Scar tissue after 5 years may require a scar revision procedure if it is uncomfortable.

+2

Dear skincaredoctress, Kileen, TX,

From reading your question your current concern appears related to an area that healed from within, or referred to as 'Secondary Healing". That type of healing is usually how most plastic surgeons treat any wound/incision seperation that may occur after the abdominoplasty.

Typically the type of scar that forms from this type of healing may be tighter, and firmer than the scar tissue that healed from the initial surgical closure of the wound. It may also be thicker, or wider.

In my practice I also often allow this type of healing to take place if an area along the incision line seperates. This can occur from a localized infection, undue tension, or from underlying medical problems. In the event that the final scar, after fully healed, is unslightly or firm I will then sometimes offer to surgically remove that area of scar. This involves excising the scar,and performing a fresh primary closure of the uninvolved skin edges. This is otherwise known as a "scar revision".

I hope this helped with your question.

Best wishes,

S.P. Maggi, MD, FACS

Sergio P. Maggi, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

It's a little unclear from your description about how...

+2

It's a little unclear from your description about how your wound was cared for post-operatively, but it appears that you had some wound healing problems post-op (which occurs in about 5-10% of patients depending on factors like smoking, diabetes and the method used to close your wound). You appear concerned about some of the scar tissue and a bit of pain that resulted from your tummy tuck.

At five years post-op, the scar you do have is likely 'mature' and will not soften or fade with time. It probably won't get any worse either. The scarring around your bellybutton can be troublesome if it has narrowed your belly-button diameter to the point that it makes keeping that area clean a challenge.

In the early post-op period, things like scar massage can do a lot to minimize the bulk of a scar, but it's too late for that.

I think the scar you have is there to stay.

Most Kindly,
Scott Sattler MD FACS

Scott C. Sattler, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

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Wound Healing Following Tummy Tuck May Last Up To 18 Months

+1

Wound healing is a dynamic process that can last for up to eighteen months following abdominoplasty.  At that point, the changes that have occurred in your body are more or less permanent. 

It’s hard to know the exact nature of your wound care following your last procedure, but it’s safe to say you’re unhappy with your scar.  Under these circumstances a scar revision will probably be necessary.  At this time, conservative methods of treatment such as massage, topical agents, and silicone sheeting won’t be effective.

Without a physical exam or pictures it’s difficult to know what type of scar revision will be necessary.  In most cases, a simple excision of the old scar and re-closure will be adequate.  In other cases, more aggressive flap elevations may be necessary.

If you’re concerned about your scars, consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon is appropriate.  This surgeon should be able to formulate an appropriate treatment plan.  

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
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A scar revision may help with this and the product Embrace may help as well!

+1
Please find an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and member of the Aesthetic Society using the Smart Beauty Guide. These Plastic Surgeons can guide you on all aspects of facial surgery, breast augmentation and body procedures including tummy tucks or mommy makeovers!

A tummy tuck can be done as a solitary procedure. Many times the results are enhanced by adding liposuction to the hip and love handle area. A tummy tuck is also done in combination with a breast augmentation in a mommy makeover.

Robert Whitfield, MD, FACS
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Tummy tuck scar revision in Los Angeles

+1

I perform many tummy tuck scar revisions in my Los Angeles practice and advise patients to seek early treatment. Raffy Karamanoukian Los Angeles

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
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How scars change after tummy tuck

+1

tummy tuck scars change and evolve for at least 2 years after a tummy tuck. Therefore, it is not recommended to revise or fix tummy tuck scars until they have matured and settled. After this point it is possible to revise a tummy tuck scar even under local anesthesia.

S. Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
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Tummy Tuck Scar Healing Years Later

+1

It sounds like you had some poor or delayed healing in the area below the navel which happens in a small number of patients.  I don’t think the dressing had anything to do with it. At this time I would see a Plastic Surgeon for evaluation and scar revision.

Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Scar band under umbilicus

+1
It is difficult to comment without a photo and examination but if your scar formed adhesions then it could be excised and reclosed. I recommend that you see a board certified plastic surgeon in consultation to inquire about the potential for such a procedure, which could potentially be performed under local anesthesia, to improve your appearance and eliminate the pain. Wounds that close secondarily can form difficult scarring but this can be addressed.

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Painful, tight scar 5 years after TT

+1

let me clarify, the loss of tissue had nothing to do with the dressing, so let it go. secondly, the symptoms of tightness, pain, itching are well managed by kenalog injection. if the cosmetic result is acceptable, do not have a scar revision.  steroid injections are very effective in improving symptoms. good luck.

Rafael C. Cabrera, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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.