What are "Dog Ears" when Referring to a Result of Surgery?

Several reviews in body lift and/or Panniculectomy section make mention of "Dog ears". What are they referring to? I have never heard of this term, is it possibly the same thing or similar to "saddle bags"? (meaning those hip buldges)

Doctor Answers 6

"Dog ears"

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"Dog ears" are simply the excess skin and sometimes soft tissue at the very corners of the incision.  This is caused by the excess tissue being bunched up at the very ends of the incision.  After excision of an elliptical wedge, the area is closed as a straight line.  Sometimes, there is still a small amount of redundant tissue at the very end of the incision, termed "dog ears".  

It is not uncommon to have these at your incisions immediately after your surgical prcedure.Often times, these improve or go away with time.  If they remain after several months, it is possible to simply excise the small excess skin at the edge of the incision under local anesthesia, sometimes in the office, and give a flattened, improved appearance after excision.  

I hope that this helps!  Thank you for the question!


Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Dog Ears and Tummy Tucks

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The term dog ears refers to the small pleats of skin that can form at each end of the long, horizontal incisions made during a standard tummy tuck procedure. 

Special surgical techniques can be used to reduce or eliminate these extra bits of scarring.

If these dog ears can't be avoided and do form at the ends of your abdominal scar, they can easily be eliminated by a small corrective procedure, performed with local anesthetic. 

Usha Rajagopal, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Meaning of dog ears in tummy tuck surgery

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Based on the amount of your abdominal soft tissue, there may be areas on the sides of the incision that require additional liposuction or reshaping. These areas are often left after the first surgery in order to maximize the size of your scar and to help with blood supply. We often see patients with dog ears from previous surgery and revise them as needed.


Dr. Karamanoukian

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

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What are Dog Ears

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Dog ears are abnormal bulges of tissue that typically occur along the ends of surgical incisions. This problem occurs for a variety of reasons, including discrepancies in length of the opposing wound borders and wound closures around curved contours.

Dog ears can occasionally be seen following abdominal wall panniculectomy. When this occurs, secondary surgery may be necessary. In most cases, this involves a simple excision of the dog ear under local anesthesia. In other cases where the dog ear is large and extends posteriorly towards the back, correction may require extension of the incisions in a posterior direction. In some cases, where an abnormal roll of tissue is present the incision may extend to the midline of the back.

Although every effort is made to avoid dog ears during the primary surgical procedure, this complication is occasionally unavoidable. When this situation arises it’s important to discuss your options with your plastic surgeon. Your surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your concerns. 

Dog Ears are nothing to worry about

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'Saddle bags" are in reference to the thighs. "Dog Ears" are the hips. 

When a patient has a tummy tuck, a panniculectomy, or a body lift, incisions may be from hip to hip. At the edges of these incisions, "dog ears", or excess tissue may protrude at the edges of large scars. Dog Ears can easily be corrected with surgery either at the time of the operation or at a later date. Although they mostly go away on their own because they sometimes appear from swelling of the surgery, insurance companies may cover a revision if needed. 

Steven M. Katz, MD (retired)
Long Island Plastic Surgeon

What are dog ears?

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Dog ears are excess tissue that protrudes at the ends of an incision line. They are easy to correct

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.