What is involved to correct a tethered scar and what is the recovery time? (photos)

Part of my incision on my tummy is tethered. It is painful as it is constantly pulling and it wakes me up every night when I roll onto it. I can't wear a swimsuit or anything similar as the weird 'blob' created above where it is stuck is obvious. I tried massage but it hasn't helped. I understand the only way to fix it is surgery and am wondering what is involved and whether there is any 'down time' from recovery or whether I can run the next day and be normal?

Doctor Answers 3

Tummy Tuck Scar Revision

Yes, there is down time for recovery.  You definitely will not be able to run the next day, and probably not for 4 to 8 weeks, depending on how much of your scar is revised.  One half of your tummy tuck scar (your left side, if these photos were taken straight on and not in front of a mirror), looks good.   The goal would be to mirror that shape on the other side.   In addition to unraveling the bunched up scar, I would recommend revising that whole one half for a better cosmetic appearance.   Your surgeon would need to mark you for surgery with you standing up, and check the markings with a level.    Also check the markings with you sitting and bending over.   

In surgery, your surgeon should unravel that bunched up area and free up the tissue above it to see how much of the skin flap can safely be moved downward.   Then mark out skin to be removed from below your incision line in order to re position your scar line to a lower and better position.   Doing all of this will mean that your skin flaps will need to be re sutured in three layers again, and you will need to go through the healing process once again.

Best Wishes!

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Correction of Tethered Scar

It may take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take longer. Scars may stay red, become thick or widen. It can take 12-18 months for the scars to settle.

These can be improved with topical treatments such as BioCorneum, Scar Guard, Scar Fade and Mederma. Redness can be improved with laser treatments and the scars can be kept narrow with products such as Embrace.  On occasion, keloids or hypertrophic scars can develop and will need treatment including Kenalog, 5FU and laser.

If you find that you are worried about your scar and healing then it would be good to visit your surgeon to have the area examined for proper healing process. Good luck.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

How far out?

I'd hold off on any correction until you're six months out or more. If you are, releasing the scar is a relatively simple procedure. Nowadays, we often combine it with a little fat grafting so there's something between your scar and the fascia but its not mandatory. I'm not sure running the next day is the best of ideas but within a couple weeks is ok. Good luck.

Robert Frank, MD
Munster Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

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