Belly Button Scar for a Dark Skin Tone

I had a tummy tuck 10 months ago. I am worried because I have dark Asian skin tone. The scar around my belly button is showing the markings of the stitches. Is this normal? I don't smoke or drink. I eat well and I excercise. Will the scar of the stitches go away? It's so prominent. Also, my tummy tuck scar is really dark still. Will that go away in time? My doctor had addressed these issues with me, but I wanted to get a second opinion.

Doctor Answers 4

I have Asian skin, and my scars are dark after a tummy tuck. Is this normal?

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Darker skin types will often have areas of darker skin adjacent to the scars following surgery.  This is called post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation (PIH).  There are simple ways to improve your skin scars that do not require alot of money.  The simplest method is to support your skin with 3M Micropore skin tape.  The tape should be applied to your scars immediately after surgery and left on until they fall off on their own (usually about 7 days).  The tape can then be reapplied.  It is important to 'shingle' the tape, using short 2" pieces that overlap slightly.  The tape must be worn continuously for several months until all signs of inflammation are gone (no residual redness, swelling etc).  When the scar is white, you can discontinue the tape.  There are more expensive tapes and wound support technologies available and under development, but the tape trick is very useful.  If you have not worn any tissue support since surgery, there are some other options.  Basically, your surgeon can advise you on methods for increasing the pigment shedding as well as decreasing pigment production.  These are all relatively simple treatments that wil help optimize your scars after surgery.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon

Scarring after a tummy tuck

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Scarring varies from individual to individual and is related to tension, ethnicity, genetics, etc.  Review of scarring and treatment should be discussed with your surgeon on how to proceed.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Dark belly button and abdominal scar in pigmented individuals after tummy tuck

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IT is important to keep this out of the sun with the use of a high SPF sunblock. Mild steroids to minimize post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation may also be beneficial

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Scar Maturation Takes 6-12 months, non-surgical care after surgery is key to get the best result!

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In general, scars take 6-12 months to heal.  Non-surgical treatments are the way to go within this 12 month time frame.  You may need special anti-scar creams, gels, silicone gel bandages, cortisone injections, and possible laser treatment to get the best results possible. 

Since it's 10 months after your procedure, your belly button scar will probably still respond to non-surgical alternatives.  Smoking may affect scar tissue formation, but drinking, diet, and exercise typically do not affect scar tissue formation to a very large extent. 

It's important to see your original plastic surgeon if you're not pleased with the way your scar is healing.  Even if it's been several months after your procedure, and the skin has fully healed, if your plastic surgeon is unaware of any recent changes in your scar appearance, he/ she can't do much about it.  Espeically with possible cortisone injections or laser treatments, your plastic surgeon may be the only person to be able to do those small yet effective procedures to enhance the appearance of your scar. 

Roy Kim, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

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.