How Will a Second Pregnancy Affect Scar from Previous C-section?

What will happen to my vertical scar during pregnancy and can I have an abdominoplasty during my next c-section? I had a child by c-section at 21 years old. Three months later I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which left me with a vertical scar from the top of my pubic bone up past my belly button.

I am now 26 and my husband and I are now cleared to try for another baby. I have two questions. Will the scar stretch and hurt? And two, can an abdominoplasty be performed during my c-section?

Doctor Answers 9

Tummy tucks should not be done at the delivery

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Your scars won't change significantly from being pregnant again. It would not be wise to do a tummy tuck at the time of delivering a child. First of all, it increases the risks to your life unnecessarily. Secondly, your tissues need to shrink after delivery to know exactly how much should be removed during a tummy tuck. I would wait at least 6-9 months after delivery and make sure this is your last child before proceeding.

You have an excellent abdomen for a great result when the time is right! Make sure you go to an excellent Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for your care. To my amazement, there are OB-Gyn doctors who try to do tummy tucks on their patients rather than referring them to a plastic surgeon. They should never do this as they have no training in this surgery and the results are never as good.

C-Sections and Tummy Tucks... Should Not Be Performed Together

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A lower abdominal incision wouldn’t impact expansion of the abdomen during pregnancy.Conversely the lower abdominal scar wouldn’t be impacted by the pregnancy, unless the scar was immature.Under these circumstances, slight spread of the scar might occur during pregnancy.
Abdominoplasty isn’t recommended immediately following a C-section for a variety of reasons.These include the inability to make aesthetic judgements immediately following pregnancy, the mothers overall health status and the demands of a newborn child on the mother.
The timing of the surgery following pregnancy is important and several issues should be considered before proceeding with surgery.It takes time for a new post pregnancy body to reach its new baseline following pregnancy and during this transition it’s impossible to make aesthetic judgements.During this period, stretched skin may contract, a swollen uterus may shrink and the weight gained during pregnancy may gradually disappear.This process takes 3-6 months and needs to occur before abdominoplasty is performed.
Ideally, patients should be within 10% of their ideal body weight and in good health otherwise.The majority of women who have undergone C-sections aren’t in good physical shape and are therefore not optimal candidates for surgery for a variety of reasons.These may include severe fatigue, a depressed immune system, possible blood loss, an increased potential for infection, and elevated estrogen levels which can increase the risk of blood clots.
Finally, the demands of a newborn would make the recovery from these combined procedures very difficult.For instance, the use of post-operative pain medications would prevent breast feeding. In other words, the abdominoplasty might impact your developing relationship with your newborn child.
For all these reasons, it’s obvious that C-section and abdominoplasty shouldn’t be performed together.If you’re considering abdominoplasty it’s important to give yourself time to fully recover from your C-section.Once this has occurred it’s appropriate to consult a board certified plastic surgeon.

Candidate for an abdominoplasty

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Looking at you photos you would be a good candidate for an abdominoplasty. Liposuction alone will not get rid of the excess skin and fat. A complete examination would be needed to determine if you are a good candidate for this elective procedure.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Tummy Tuck Candidate

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As you are actively considering having another child, it would be wise to wait 6 months to a year post  pregnancy or post breast feeding (if you breast feed).

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Tummy tuck at same time as c-section delivery

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This is controversial and while some surgeons may be willing to perform this, the vast majority, in my opinion would prefer to defer this for a minimum of 4 months following successful healing and cessation of nursing.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

The effects of a second pregnancy on a vertical C-section scar

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A woman's body undergoes significant changes with pregnancy. If you have had a vertical section scar, a second pregnancy should not alter significantly. After your pregnancies, you would be an excellent candidate for a tummy to answer the complete removal of this vertical scar. During your tummy tux surgery, this vertical scar will be replaced by a horizontal scar that is positioned very low underneath your panty line.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

Scars and C-section

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The scar may stretch a bit. Performing a tummy tuck at the same time as a c-section is not indicated and could be dangerous. You want to wait for the body to "go back to normal" after the pregnancy. You should allow the tissues to heal and the baby weight to come off before performing a tummy tuck. Usually 6 months to a year later.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Your scar may stretch slightly

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During your pregnancy, your scar may stretch or widen, but will not lengthen. You look like a great candidate for abdominoplasty which will likely be able to remove almost, if not all, of your vertical scar. It would be best to do your abdominoplasty at a seperate time from your c-section. I just feel that you will acheive much better results that way. Good luck.

Scar will not change

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Your scar will not change due to the pregnancy. You appear to be a great candidate for a tummy tuck after you are done having children. The tummy tuck should remove most if not all of your vertical scar. However, I would not do the tummy tuck at the time of your c-section. It is not advisable due to the risks involved for you and also your attention should be solely on your new baby. I do agree with the other surgeon who advised you to avoid your OB doing any kind of cosmetic procedure at the time of your c-section. That may sound attractive but allow your body to heal from the delivery for 6mo or longer - specially if you breast feed. Once all your tissues have return to a stable state, then seek out a board certified plastic surgeon for a consultation regarding a tummy tuck. That will give you the safest, and best outcome possible.

Bahram Ghaderi, MD
Chicago 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.