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Tummy Tuck Using Same Incision for C-section?

I was given a C-section in 1993 due to complications while giving birth to my son who weighed in at 9lbs 6oz. My problem is I was very a petite girl prior to becoming pregnant, which cause me to have a lot of stretch marks and LOOSE skin. Ever since my C-section- I am unable to keep a steady weight. And, regardless of my weight I always have a large amount of loose/fatty skin and an ugly scar to go with it.(and,the scar sorta has a chunk of skin missing in the center as well) My questions are; Can you re-open the same incision relating to my c-section? Also, is there a certain amount of skin allowed to be removed per patient per state regulations/standards? One last thing- I gained a huge amount of weight lately...(since I turn 32 yrs.old) Is it in my best interest to lose the weight prior to getting surgery?

Doctor Answers 18

That scar can come out but the new one might be longer!

With tummy tucks, the old C-section scars are usually removed along with all the extra skin that hangs over it. The new scar replacing it is usually longer but still covered by bikini style underwear and bathing suits, and the skin should be flat above it and below.

The skin from this scar up toward the belly button is tighter and smoother but may still have some stretch marks. I tell my patients that about everything from the pubic hair to the belly button, that is, all the skin that you can gather up in your hands and pull away from your muscles, will be discarded. If there are still stretch marks left above the belly button they may not be removed, but they will end up being down by the scar and can be hidden in underwear and two piece bathing suits.

The amount of tissue removed is not determined by any state regulations that I am aware of and is instead determined by the surgeon. Removing too much and pulling the incision too tight can lead to the skin breaking open, getting infected and leaving a bad scar. So, the smart surgeon will remove as much as is safely possible to avoid that predicament.

Your other question is essentially whether a person who is not at their ideal weight can still have a tummy tuck. I face this question with my patients on an individual case-by-case basis. There isn't a rule of thumb other than if you are obese, this operation will not be worth your money unless you lose weight.

Many patients, however, will find it a little easier to lose weight after a tummy tuck. Exercise is easier if you don't have all that skin in the way. And once you see your new figure (and have invested some real money to get it), it might be a little easier to turn down that second helping of mashed potatoes or dessert. No one wants to go back to looking like they did before the surgery. Lastly, some studies have suggested that removing fat from your body may reduce the urge to eat in that part of your brain where hunger comes from.

Do your homework and get more than one opinion. If more than one surgeon tells you to go lose weight first and then come back to talk about surgery, you should make plans to get that fat off first.

Tummy Tuck

If you are less than pleased with your C-section scar, a tummy tuck could remove that scar entirely.  The goal of a well executed tummy tuck is a scar that is just a fine white line, placed below the underwear, bikini line with no scars around the belly button.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Tummy Tuck Incision Placement Following C-Section

                  It’s not unusual for patients who are undergoing abdominoplasty to have given birth by C-section.  The vast majority of C section scars are oriented transversely and are located at the level of the pubic hairline.  Rarely these incisions are vertically oriented and in most cases are entirely removed during abdominoplasty when they are located below the level of the umbilicus.

                   When C-section incisions are oriented transversely, the abdominoplasty incision is made slightly below the C-section incision.  The C-section scar is totally removed and replaced by a longer incision that’s located slightly lower than the original C-section scar.

                   It’s important that the abdominoplasty incision not be made above the C-section scar.  In some cases this can result in loss of blood supply to the intervening tissue and can potentially result in wound healing problems.

                   If you’ve had a previous C-section and are concerned about abdominoplasty incision placement it’s important to consult a board certified plastic surgeon.  This surgeon should be able to formulate an appropriate treatment plan for your condition.

Tummy tuck and a C-section scar

When an abdominoplasty is performed in a patient who has previously undergone a C-section the scar is placed below the C-section scar so that I can be removed. Many times after a C-section there is an undesirable overhang of skin at the level of the C-section scar. An abdominoplasty is very effective in recontouring this area and the rest of the abdominal wall. If you are overweight it would be best to get down to within 10 pounds of your ideal or realistic body weight. The more weight you lose the better contouring you will have.In the performance of a full abdominoplasty, an incision is made from one hip to the other. In your case it would be placed below the C-section scar. The incision is carried through the skin and fat layer and stops at the muscle layer. At this level the skin and fat layer is elevated off of the underlying muscle layer. This elevation is continued up to the belly button. An incision is then made around the belly button to keep it in it's normal location allowing the skin and fat layer to continue to be elevated up to the rib margin. Very often tightening of the muscle layer is then accomplished before removing the excess skin. The loose skin and fat layer is then pulled down snugly and the excess skin and fat is then removed. The belly button has not been moved or removed. It is still in it's normal location underneath the skin and fat layer. An incision is made over the belly button and it is pulled up to the surface and re-stitched in it's original location.

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Yes, the old C-section scar can be used.

However the length of the tummy tuck scar will have to be longer than your E-section scar.  Your need to lose weight would depend on how much you have gained.  There is no limit on how much can be removed when is come to skin.  Each plastic surgeon decides the right amount at the time of the surgical markings.  There is a limit as to how much fat can be removed with liposuction.

Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) using C-section incision

You certainly can use a similar incision and actually place it lower than your orginal c-section scar but given the amount of laxity you describe, it is most likely that you will require a longer incision. C-sections scars tend to average about 1215cm whereas most full tummy tuck incisions average 20-40cm.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

A Full Tummy Tuck will REMOVE an Old, Ugly C-Section Scar

"Can you re-open the same incision relating to my c-section?" -  We commonly place the Tummy Tuck incision scar at or just below C- section scars to remove them and improve on them. You will not have two sets of scars.

"Also, is there a certain amount of skin allowed to be removed per patient per state regulations/standards? " - A Full Tummy Tuck will remove all the loose skin off the front of the tummy. The amount of skin removed depends on your weight (less fat under the skin, the more skin can be removed), the placement of the scar (the higher the scar, the more stretch marks can be removed). Unlike Liposuction, there are no regulations governing Tummy Tuck skin removal.

"One last thing- I gained a huge amount of weight lately...(since I turn 32 yrs.old) Is it in my best interest to lose the weight prior to getting surgery?" -  The closer you are to your IDEAL WEIGHT, the better your results will be. Definitely lose the weight.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Tummy tucks can easily be performed using a C-section scar

Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. They can address the loose muscle in the abdominal wall that is common after woman has given birth. Tummy tucks can also remove excess fat and stretch marks below the belly button. In our practice, we always perform liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck to help contour the abdomen and create a toned appearance.

In your case, you already have a scar in your lower abdomen from your C-section. This scar may be replaced with a thin abdominoplasty scar. Through this incision, your muscles can be addressed and tightened as necessary. For best results, you should wait to receive your tummy tucked until you have lost weight and are at your target weight that you can maintain for at least 4 to 6 months.
Patients who receive this procedure should understand that there is a significant recovery process afterwards. In our practice we give our patients to compression garments to help them manage the expected swelling as well as provide additional support. Patients with these garments for up to 4 to 6 months after the surgery.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Tummy tuck questions

It is always better to lose weight to return to your goal weight prior to a tummy tuck. Second, I often use an incision below the c-section to remove the old scar.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

The same incision can be used, but will likely need to be extended


The same incision as your c-section can be used, but will likely need to be extended to each side. In most cases in patients with c-section incisions, I usually make the incision a bit lower and then excise the entire previous incision. There is no restriction on the amount of excision - it all depends on what is safe for you. Good luck with your surgery.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 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.