Do I need a revision? Belly button scar and dog ears? (Photo)

I'm 6 months out, my belly button scar is thick and tight, a little off centered, and I think I'm getting dog ears. Am I being too picky? Or is this just normal?

Doctor Answers 5

My belly button and tummy tuck scar are thick and tight. Do i need a revision? It is up to you #tt #revisiontt

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The final result of a surgical scar depends primarily of the patient's body healling process. While most of the patients heal very well to the point the scar is very thin and imperceptible, a few number heal with think raised scars ( hypertrophic keloid scars). It is up to the patient to decide if the scar shall be revise depending on the cosmetic appliance of them.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

Wound healing biology

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The belly scar is going to recur because this is your wound healing biology.  Let your body heal before jumping back into surgery.  In the meantime prevent the belly button from closing on itself.  The marble is an old fashioned approach to keeping the scar from constricting on itself. I more modern approach which will be easier to manage is to use a gauge (one can be obtained at a piercing/tattoo parlor), the kind that people use to create those tribal-like holes in their ears.  A gauge will fit in the belly button, it is a circle not a sphere (like a marble) so it will stay in place.  The forces of the scar on a sphere will have a tendency to push it out, defeating the purpose.  The forces of the scar on a circle will not force it out of the wound.

Do I need a revision? Belly button scar and dog ears?

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You ask very good questions.Scarring is the inevitable result of surgery. How a person scars is dependent on many factors including age, skin type, location of the incisions, personal history, genetics and many others. Although the wounds will heal within a week or so, the process of scar maturation continues for more than a year. There is further improvement of the scars over many years as well but at a much slower rate. Your scars are probably appropriate for their age (i.e. time since surgery). Over the next six months you will see an improvement. In the meantime, there are a number of things one can do to help. These include pressure, moisturizing  lotion, silicone preparations, steroid injections and lastly, scar revision. I usually recommend to my patients to wait it out since a revision at this time would "set the clock back" and simply start the whole process over again. Other than less tension on the wound, there would be nothing different than the first time you had surgery.  Finally, any dogears are unlikely to change much over time. In most cases I offer dogear revisions as soon as I am sure the swelling has completely resolved. I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.

Bram Kaufman, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Personal decisions

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Where to stop with results is a personal decision. There is a practical aspect as well however. Some of the issues you mention can be improved with fairly simple surgery. I would wait another six months and at 1 year post-op consider fixing some of the issues that bother you. The surgery will be easier at that point and have a better chance of improvement. This is a topic to open with your surgeon. 

Best Regards,
John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

Scar maturation, belly button scar and dog ears

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Your observation is correct; you have very tight scar around new belly button and dog ears. However, this may be considered "normal and acceptable" 6 months after surgery. Your scars are in most prominent, hypertrophic phase of scar maturation. They will soften  and significantly fade within next 6-12 months. However, dog ear(s) may need to be corrected. You should try to be patient and discuss this issue with your surgeon in your next follow up visit. Injection of topical corticosteroid (Kenalog) in the belly button scar may be considered to soften current scar. Good luck

Zoran Potparic, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 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.