Why do so many people get dog ears on their tummy tuck scars?

What can be done to avoid these from the surgeons end?

Doctor Answers 18

Why do so many people get dog ears on their tummy tuck scars?

Thank you for your excellent question.  Dog ears result when the lengths of two sides of an incision are not equivalent, and either due to physical limitations or desire to minimize the overall length of a scar, the shorter side can not be lengthened.  There are some maneuvers to be able to adjust for small discrepancies in length, but the only real way to prevent dog ears is to lengthen the scar.  

Why do so many people get dog ears on their tummy tuck scars?

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Thank you for your excellent question.  Dog ears result when the lengths of two sides of an incision are not equivalent, and either due to physical limitations or desire to minimize the overall length of a scar, the shorter side can not be lengthened.  There are some maneuvers to be able to adjust for small discrepancies in length, but the only real way to prevent dog ears is to lengthen the scar.  

Dog ears can be corrected by a longer scar

Dog ears can occur when the edge of the abdominoplasty incision is tapered too quickly.  The area where skin is removed needs to be gradually blended into the part of your hip or waist that has not been tightened with the surgery.  The way that the skin recontours is affected by your natural anatomy and sometimes may look different when you stand up after surgery in comparison to how things look when you are laying down for surgery.  However, one of the issues that can contribute to "dog ears" is surgeon or patient attempts to limit the length of the scar.  The longer the scar is, the more gradual the tapering and the less likely it is to have a dog ear.  Sometimes when people have significant extra skin, this may require re-positioning during surgery to even carry the scar to your back.  I would encourage you to ask your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon about this and would strongly encourage you to value the shape of your torso over the length of your scar.

Dog ears can be corrected by a longer scar

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Dog ears can occur when the edge of the abdominoplasty incision is tapered too quickly.  The area where skin is removed needs to be gradually blended into the part of your hip or waist that has not been tightened with the surgery.  The way that the skin recontours is affected by your natural anatomy and sometimes may look different when you stand up after surgery in comparison to how things look when you are laying down for surgery.  However, one of the issues that can contribute to "dog ears" is surgeon or patient attempts to limit the length of the scar.  The longer the scar is, the more gradual the tapering and the less likely it is to have a dog ear.  Sometimes when people have significant extra skin, this may require re-positioning during surgery to even carry the scar to your back.  I would encourage you to ask your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon about this and would strongly encourage you to value the shape of your torso over the length of your scar.

Dog ears after tummy tuck

In sewing when you have a hole in the fabric and you close it a "dart" is produced.  In order to remove it you have to "cheat it out". An abdominoplasty is similar in that there is a hole and you have to cheat out the excess in the corners.  Usually the severity of the dog ear is not appearant until the patient is standing which makes it hard to predict how much needs to be cheated out while the patient is on the operating room table

Dog ears after tummy tuck

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In sewing when you have a hole in the fabric and you close it a "dart" is produced.  In order to remove it you have to "cheat it out". An abdominoplasty is similar in that there is a hole and you have to cheat out the excess in the corners.  Usually the severity of the dog ear is not appearant until the patient is standing which makes it hard to predict how much needs to be cheated out while the patient is on the operating room table

Why do so many people get dog ears on their tummy tuck scars?

Thank you for the question. With very careful planning and execution, “dog ear" occurrence can be minimized. Occasionally (despite best efforts), after tummy tuck surgery surgery, patients will have excess skin or adipose tissue at the very end of their incision lines. These may be referred to as “dog ears”. "Dog ears" refer to a bunching up of tissue at the end of a incision line/scar. Generally they occur because a surgeon, in his/her attempt to keep the scar as short as possible, has a discrepancy between the lengths of the upper and lower tummy tuck incision lines. They can be avoided by extending the incisions and removing additional skin and subcutaneous tissue. Most patients will much prefer a longer incision line than the bunching up of tissue and contour elevation, which is visible and palpable with and without clothing. Often, excision of the dog ear, if it's still a concern roughly one year postoperatively can be corrected often under local anesthesia. I hope this, and the attached link, helps.

Why do so many people get dog ears on their tummy tuck scars?

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Thank you for the question. With very careful planning and execution, “dog ear" occurrence can be minimized. Occasionally (despite best efforts), after tummy tuck surgery surgery, patients will have excess skin or adipose tissue at the very end of their incision lines. These may be referred to as “dog ears”. "Dog ears" refer to a bunching up of tissue at the end of a incision line/scar. Generally they occur because a surgeon, in his/her attempt to keep the scar as short as possible, has a discrepancy between the lengths of the upper and lower tummy tuck incision lines. They can be avoided by extending the incisions and removing additional skin and subcutaneous tissue. Most patients will much prefer a longer incision line than the bunching up of tissue and contour elevation, which is visible and palpable with and without clothing. Often, excision of the dog ear, if it's still a concern roughly one year postoperatively can be corrected often under local anesthesia. I hope this, and the attached link, helps.

Abdominoplasty results

A high lateral tension abdominoplasty can avoid the fullness or dogears in the side part of the incision. This means that the skin should be aggressively removed on the sides and also using liposuction can be helpful.

Abdominoplasty results

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A high lateral tension abdominoplasty can avoid the fullness or dogears in the side part of the incision. This means that the skin should be aggressively removed on the sides and also using liposuction can be helpful.

DOG EARS AFTER SURGERY

Dog ears can occur in many plastic surgery procedures. The best way to avoid dog ears in a tummy tuck is to make the scar longer and also removing fat deposits on that area, so the ends of the incisions get flat. It the patient gains weight after the surgery, then the increase in volume on areas where liposuction was not done, will increase in size and it may appear like a bulge that resembles a dog ear.

DOG EARS AFTER SURGERY

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Dog ears can occur in many plastic surgery procedures. The best way to avoid dog ears in a tummy tuck is to make the scar longer and also removing fat deposits on that area, so the ends of the incisions get flat. It the patient gains weight after the surgery, then the increase in volume on areas where liposuction was not done, will increase in size and it may appear like a bulge that resembles a dog ear.

Dog Ears

Hi, thanks for your inquiry, as my colleagues are stating, it is a matter of expectations vs reality. Most patients are very conservative regarding the scar (incision line) but want to get the flattest result as possible. When people gain weight or after pregnancies, the belly grows three dimensionally, so sometimes you need to take away extra skin that is also on the sides too, that is why the incision needs to be longer around the hips. Please make sure that you and your surgeon are on the same page. Don't forget to discuss all your concerns, options and expectations thoroughly. Have a safe and pleasant PS Journey!
Respectfully,
Dr. Jaime Campos-Leon
 

Dog Ears

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Hi, thanks for your inquiry, as my colleagues are stating, it is a matter of expectations vs reality. Most patients are very conservative regarding the scar (incision line) but want to get the flattest result as possible. When people gain weight or after pregnancies, the belly grows three dimensionally, so sometimes you need to take away extra skin that is also on the sides too, that is why the incision needs to be longer around the hips. Please make sure that you and your surgeon are on the same page. Don't forget to discuss all your concerns, options and expectations thoroughly. Have a safe and pleasant PS Journey!
Respectfully,
Dr. Jaime Campos-Leon
 

Dog ear after tummy tuck

Dog ears are puckering of one or both ends of the tummy tuck scar where the scar blends into the hip area. In performing a tummy tuck, the surgeon tries to blend the skin in seamlessly to the hip area while keeping the scar as short as possible. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, a dog ear can occur. In my experience, it occurs in less than 10% of my tummy tucks. If is does occur, it can usually be easily corrected with a brief procedure under local anesthesia.

Dog ear after tummy tuck

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Dog ears are puckering of one or both ends of the tummy tuck scar where the scar blends into the hip area. In performing a tummy tuck, the surgeon tries to blend the skin in seamlessly to the hip area while keeping the scar as short as possible. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, a dog ear can occur. In my experience, it occurs in less than 10% of my tummy tucks. If is does occur, it can usually be easily corrected with a brief procedure under local anesthesia.

Dog ears and tummy tucks

During a tummy tuck the surgeon is commonly are faced with a curved incision in the upper abdomen being sewn to a straighter incision in the lower abdomen. The curved incision will be longer than the straight one. If you sew, imagine sewing two pieces of material together but one is longer. To do this you either have to create small pleats as you go or correct for the difference at the end, that excess at the end of the incision creates the "dog ear". These are not difficult to correct and can be done as a simple procedure under local anesthesia. Most surgeons correct them at the time of the original procedure, however some are more pronounced when you are standing and not as noticeable lying down so they are more apparent during your post operative appointment    

Stephen Lovich, MD
Medford Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Dog ears and tummy tucks

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
During a tummy tuck the surgeon is commonly are faced with a curved incision in the upper abdomen being sewn to a straighter incision in the lower abdomen. The curved incision will be longer than the straight one. If you sew, imagine sewing two pieces of material together but one is longer. To do this you either have to create small pleats as you go or correct for the difference at the end, that excess at the end of the incision creates the "dog ear". These are not difficult to correct and can be done as a simple procedure under local anesthesia. Most surgeons correct them at the time of the original procedure, however some are more pronounced when you are standing and not as noticeable lying down so they are more apparent during your post operative appointment    

Stephen Lovich, MD
Medford Plastic Surgeon

Why do so many people get dog ears on their tummy tuck scars?

There are two basic reasons for that problem, either the scar isn't long enough for the amount of skin removed or when closing, the surgeon did not adjust the tissue length discrepancies. There are no shortcuts, if you want maximum tightening with no dogears, you must accept the length of the scar

Why do so many people get dog ears on their tummy tuck scars?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
There are two basic reasons for that problem, either the scar isn't long enough for the amount of skin removed or when closing, the surgeon did not adjust the tissue length discrepancies. There are no shortcuts, if you want maximum tightening with no dogears, you must accept the length of the scar

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.