What Does the Abdominoplasty Look Like when 6" Gallbladder Scar Above Belly button? (photo)

20 years ago, I had my gall bladder removed through a 6" horizontal scar 3" above my belly button. Now I've lost 100lbs and want a tummy tuck or body lift. Some surgeons say I need a different procedure or it'll look different or something. I thought of the fleur de leeigh vertical scar to pull it all into the middle. There is some concerns about blood supply. Any comments would be appreciated because I'm getting different messages.

Doctor Answers 6

What Does the Abdominoplasty Look Like when 6" Gallbladder Scar Above Belly button?

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Thanks for the question. It is an important one. Over the last 30 years I have done many standard abdominoplasties in patients with large gallbladder scars, AS LONG AS the scars were at least 10 years old and I have had no problems. Because your scar is lower than most and you have a dramatic skin excess, I'm pretty sure the gallbladder scar would be removed with the abdominoplasty and should not pose any concerns. However, it would take an exam to confirm that. Just make sure you are seeing a very experienced surgeon, not only in the abdominoplasty procedure but especially in patients with major weight loss. It is not the same as a slender person that has never been heavy.

Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Abdominoplasty is all about blood supply and healing.

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Scars, such as the one in the photo, can compromise the blood supply to the abdominal skin and create healing problems if a standard abdominoplasty is done.  Modifying the approach with limited undermining is one approach that can work, but I have seen some major healing difficulties with it, even in 30 year-old scars.  Three other aprocahes can be considered:  The first is a mid-abdominoplasty at the level of the currrent scar.  This can achieve good healing, but the scar is likely going to be at the level of the belly button and the pubic hairline would be excessively raised.  The second is the Fleur-di-lis with minimal undermining.  This can give an excellent result but does leave an upside down T scar.  The third is the Saldanha type abdominoplasty that preserves Scarpa's fascia and blood supply.  The scar is somewhat higher than a standard abdominoplasty  but it can give an excellent result.  It is good to get several opinions.  lhc

Lee H. Colony, MD, FACS
Lansing Plastic Surgeon

I'm not going to tell you that you can't have a tummy tuck but the large scar does present problems.

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Thank you for your question and the photos.

I'm not going to tell you that you can't have a tummy tuck but the large scar does present problems. The technique will have to be modifed by the surgeon to prevent serious complications with wound healing and possible tissue loss.

To be sure, see two or more board-certified plastic surgeons in your area for a full and complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have surgery.  I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Surgical Scars and Tummy Tuck

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Your abdomen presents problems with producing a predictable results especially concerning healing.  Whether a traditional full abdominoplasty is done depends on whether that long scar can be removed with the excess tissue for an abdominoplasty. Please careful choose whether you have the procedure.

Dr. ES

Tummy Tuck and Previous Abdominal Scar?

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Thank you for the question and pictures.

You have been receiving good advice; tummy tuck surgery in your case can be potentially dangerous given the presence of the long transverse scar 3 inches above your umbilicus. A limited undermining tummy tuck operation ( with the standard transverse incision) will be your best bet.  Unlike the other responders, I do not think that the previous cholecystectomy scar will be removed during a tummy tuck operation  (given its relatively high location on the abdominal wall).

Also, do your best to reach a long-term stable weight prior to undergoing the procedure.

Best wishes.

Fleur de lys modified tummy tuck looks like excellent option for you.

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You can certainly have a tummy tuck.  The key is to do a "minimal undermining" operation  (without lifting the skin) to preserve the blood supply.  About two thirds of your gallbladder scar can be removed.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan 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.