Best Treatment for Keloid Tummy Tuck Scar?

I had a Tummy Tuck about 2 years ago, and have scar tissue around it, like keloids. Which treatment would be best for this, and how much would it cost? Thank you for your answer.

Doctor Answers 4

Keloid vs Hypertrophic Scar

There is some confusion about these 2 types of scars. Hypertrophic scars are typically raised and reddened. Keloids are more mushroom-shaped and are more difficult to correct. Hypertrophic scars sometimes respond to silicone sheeting or silicone gels. The next step in treatment might be injection of 5-FU and steroids. Keloids sometimes need to be excised and treated with post-op radiation. The costs of these various treatments would vary widely; they may at times be covered by your insurance.

Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Scar management for keloid after tummy tuck

Scar formation after a tummy tuck, or any surgical procedure, follows a natural course of scar "maturation".

Over the first year, a scar will be red or pink and raised, and may be slightly itchy and bulky. The scar will gradually mature, as immature collagen gets replaced with mature collagen fibers.

By a year, most scars are soft, pale and do not have associated symptoms.

A HYPERTROPHIC scar remains pink, raised and often itchy.

In contrast, a KELOID scar is essentially a "scar tumor", with growth of scar tissue outside the boundary of the original wound.

The ability to form soft, pale scars or enlarged hypertropic/keloid scars is often genetically determined. Other factors like tension on the wound, infection or other difficulties with healing may contribute to increased scar formation.

At two years after your procedure, it is likely you have either a hypertrophic or keloid scar if you are experiencing discomfort from the scar or it matches the description above.

There are a number of options to address troublesome scars years after surgery, including scar massage, topical silicone gel (liquid or pads), steroid injections into the scar, surgical revision or rarely, radiation therapy. Often, therapies are combined for the most difficult keloid scars.

Treatments vary in their level of invasiveness and cost. ANY scar treatment has associated risks and benefits that you should be fully aware of before embarking on any treatment plan.

Visit a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon with experience in treating difficult scars for their assessment and recommendations.

Good luck!

Karen M. Horton, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Revision of tummy tuck scars

I usually begin treatment with pulsed dye scar laser for tummy tuck scars that are thick, followed by surgical revision if needed in extreme cases.  Tummy tuck scars can be made nearly invisible. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Best Scar Treatment

Scars can improve even after two years by trying conservative management before reconsidering a scar revision.

Massage will make a difference, all scars should be massaged. It promotes blood flow which will help heal the scar as well as stretching the surrounding skin so the scar will not have as much tension on it. Massaging 5 minutes 2-3x/day may help.

Silicone gel sheets placed over the scar will help flatten the scar. These can be purchased at most drug stores as it is over the counter or on line.

Steroid injections into the scar by your doctor will help soften the scar. These shots are generally given 3 weeks apart and you may need 3 or so of them. Indications for steroid injections into a scar include a raised, thickened scar.

You may want to skip the above steps and jump right to the scar revision. Do realize there are no guarantees with scar revisions. Also it is better to perform a scar revision when the skin is softer or pliable as the skin will come together easier making the overall result better.

Sharon Theresa McLaughlin MD
Long Island City 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.