How to Tell if It's Swelling or Dog Ears After a Tummy Tuck?

I had a tummy tuck 13 days ago. I am very concerned about the 2 ends of my incision the are very swollen and tender and a little hard. Is this what is reffered to as Dog Ears? Will this correct on its own, if not what can be done to correct it? or is it too soon to tell?

Doctor Answers 8

Dog ears after a tummy tuck

I give you a direct answer. In my opinion you have a dog ear deformity that can be corrected after full initial healing.

From MIAMI Dr. B

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

How to Tell if It's Swelling or Dog Ears After a Tummy Tuck?

With very careful planning and execution, “dog ear" occurrence can be minimized. Occasionally (despite best efforts), after tummy tuck surgery surgery, patients will have excess skin or adipose tissue at the very end of their incision lines. These may be referred to as “dog ears”. "Dog ears"  refer to a bunching up of tissue at the end of a incision line/scar. Physical examination can usually differentiated swelling from “dog years”.

Generally dog ears occur  because a surgeon,  in his/her attempt to keep the scar as short as possible,  has a discrepancy between the lengths  of the upper and lower tummy tuck incision lines. They can be avoided by extending the incisions and removing additional skin and subcutaneous tissue. Most patients will much prefer a longer incision line than  the bunching up of tissue and contour elevation, which is visible and palpable with and without clothing.  Often, excision of the dog ear, if it's still a concern roughly one year postoperatively can be corrected easily under local anesthesia.   I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews

Dog-ears after tummy tuck

Yes, it's much too soon to tell if the swollen skin will come down on its own. "Dog-ears" are little bits of extra skin at the ends of an incision. Very frequently, if they are small, they will resolve as your swelling comes down. Most patients will notice that they resolve within the first 3-6 months after surgery. If they do not, this is a small procedure that can be done in the office under local anesthesia. Good luck, /nsn.

Nina S. Naidu, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

13 days is much too soon

It certainly looks like you have a fair amount of swelling and this is far too soon to determine if you have dog ears. Very oftewn the ends of the incision look bunched or swollen after a tummy tuck and by 4-6 months have disappeared. If there are minor dogears at that time it is a minimal procedure under local anesthesia to correct with almost no downtime.

I agree with my colleagues that there does seem to be a good amount of swelling in the abdomen. Some of thaat maay be the picture or your body shape. If there was less swelling several days ago and it is increasing I would call your doctors office and hbe seen to check if you have a fluid collection or seroma. If that is the case the fluid can be drained and you will feel much better.

Steven Schuster, MD, FACS
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

After Tummy Tuck Swelling

I agree with the comments by Drs. Maddali and Rand. Although only an examination could prove it, it appears you have significant swelling and I would encourage you to check with your surgeon to make sure it is not due to fluid under the skin, seroma. from the view provided, it does appear you may end up with dog ears but I would wait 6 months before I began to worry about. In many cases they would go away.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Dog ears after a tummy tuck

You have a lot of swelling and may have a seroma which is fluid that needs to be drained by your doctor. Go back asap for a check. Also, it looks like you are going to have dog ears at the ends of your incisions. You'll know for sure after 3 months but it seems like there are dog ears there.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck

Your photo shows a lot of swelling in the entire abdominal area, not just at the ends of the incision. It is very common to have a lot of swelling after a tummy tuck, but I would recommend making sure that there is not a build up of fluid (seroma) under the skin.

To answer the question specifically about the "dog ears," it is hard to say, but the swelling there does not appear significant and seems within the norm for a tummy tuck. Good luck in your healing.

Sirish Maddali, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
2.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Dog ears are an area of "Bunched Up" skin

Dog ears are an area of "Bunched Up" skin at the end of an incision/scar. This usually occurs when large amounts of skin are removed from the abdomen. To correct this usually requires extending your scar another inch or two. This is fairly common with tummy tucks as patients always want their scar to be as short as possible, and sometimes they will shrink to an acceptable appearance on their own, but other times, it's best to just correct them surgically to get the best result

Daniel P. Markmann, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 114 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.