How Can I Prevent Scarring from Skin Sloughing off After Tummy Tuck?

My wife had a tummy tuck on April 2, 2009, and she had what appeared to be bruising from the bottom of her belly button to the top of the incision. Now it appears to be a blood blister and the skin is starting to slough off.

The doctor told my wife to use vasoline and we have but is it going to scar or is there anything else we can do to prevent scarring?

Doctor Answers 2

Tissue injury after tummy tuck

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This is much more than just "skin slough". There appears to have been tissue ischmia as a result of the tummy tuck. This can occur in smokers, diabetics, or if the tummy tuck was "too aggressive" or was done with significant liposuction at the same time. Regardless of the cause, this will probably get worse before it gets better.

At this time, you should not be concerned about the scarring. The important thing right now is to have appropriate local wound care, making sure a deep infection does not develop. She may require debridement (excision) of any dead tissue. After 6-12 months, she will likely be able to undergo a procedure to remove (partly or completely) the remaining scar.

It will scar

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Hopefully, your wife made the decision to undergo her procedure with a board certified plastic surgeon, because, now more than ever, she really needs the expertise of a fully trained surgeon to handle this wound. Your obstetrician, dermatologist, and oral surgeon will never have as much background in managing this type of problem as someone who has received their training in plastic surgery.

Having said that, you will be in for a long period of scabbing, deepening of the wound, daily dressing changes, and then eventual healing. The amount and prominence of the scarring is unpredictable, but it is very likely to be quite a bit wider and more visible than had this not occurred.

In the meantime, follow the advice of your surgeon. At some later point, together the three of you will be able to consider whether revising the scar is possible and/or helpful.

Best of luck.

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.