Hi! I had my tummy tuck 4/8/11 - 5 months ago. Although I am very happy with the results, I notice that my scar in some areas is thicker than I have seen on other women. I know it takes over a year to heal, but I am wondering if I am always going to have such a thick ugly scar. The thick part will be hidden in my bikini. I will take the scar over my old saggy tummy, but wonder if you have any advice? Thank you!
Will the Thickness of Tummy Tuck Scar Tissue Soften and Become Less Ugly?
Doctor Answers 12
Scar Gel May Help Hypertrophic Tummy Tuck Scar
I have my patients who tend to develop hypertrophic scars use a silicone-containing scar gel or strips and they usually are beneficial. If they do not lead to resolution of the hypertrophic scars or have an incomplete efeect, then there are medications which can be injected directly into the scar which generally are efficacious. I use a combination of steroid and 5-FU.
How about some tape...
This is indeed a hypertrophic scar. I agree with the other surgeons that time is the best treatment. Often after a year or two a scar like this will become much more acceptable. I would suggest that steroid tape is easy to use and much less painful than steroid injections, when it works. You could ask your physician if they have experience with these tapes an find them beneficial. One brand name is "Cordran Tape," but the brand is unimportant. Enjoy your Tummy Tuck!!
Improving scars after tummy tucks
There are a few thing you can do to improve the appearance of the scars after a tummy tuch or really any plastic surgery procedure:
- Be patient. Scars can take up to 12 months to mature and almost always look better over time.
- Scar massage. Taking 5 minutes twice a day to rub and massage your scar with you fingers can help soften and move along the maturation process.
- Sun protection. Scars are more sensitive to UV radiation from sunlight or tanning beds. Keep them covered with clothing or regular use sunscreen.
- Scar gels. There are several commercial product that contain a silicone base that can be applied to scars that have been shown to be very effective.
- Silicone sheets. Placing silicone pads over scars is a gold standard in scar management therapy. However, in order to be effective, the sheet has to be on the scar almost 24 hours a day and is difficult for most patients to be consistant with this for more than few weeks.
- Sterioid injection. Steroids can help break up and soften scars, however too much can result in scar depression and also effect and damage the sarrounding normal tissue. This should be used very sparingly.
- Scar revision. Finally, the ultimate last resort is to surgically remove the scar and start over, replacing it with another that is hopefully under less tension. The techniques listed above can then be used right from the start to avoid a poor scar from redeveloping.
Consult with your plastic surgeon about what options are best for you.
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Abdominoplasty, thick scars
It looks like you have some scar hypertrophy (not a keloid). This virtually always gets better to an unpredictable degree but can take up to 2 years or longer. Some people make this type of scar virtually all the time, but in others it may be partially a reaction to tension on a scar and there is plenty of that after a tummy tuck.. For now I would consider steroid injections.Iit often takes more than one injection and they are done every 6-8 weeks. They will eventually soften and fade the scar but not make it more narrow. After a year when all tension is out of the scar it might be useful to do a revision of about 1-2 inches of the scar and see if it heals better. If so you can then have the entire scar revised.
Tummy tuck scars
While scars do keep maturing over time (a year or more), it looks like yours is hypertrophic. Steroid injections into the scar may improve it - I would followup with your plastic surgeon to talk about this.
Scar care after tummy tuck
Pablo Prichard, MD
Will the thickness of tummy tuck scar tissue soften and become less ugly?
If unsightly scars are still present after approximately a year's time, other things that your surgeon may consider are intralesional steroid injections, laser, or just surgical revision of the scar itself.
Hope that this helps! Best wishes!
Scar Care After Your Tummy Tuck
For hypertrophic scarring, you can consider nonsurgical treatments.
Hypertrophic scarring after an abdominoplasty
The belly button is really the most noticeable scar from an abdominoplasty. You can cover the lower transverse scar but the belly button is right out there. It appears that you have a hypertrophic scar which may be due to tension in both areas. At this point some judicious use of Kenalog and 5- FU may be beneficial. Otherwise you may need a scar revision in the future in this area. I have my patients place a Mack's silicone ear plug in their umbilicus. Silicone has been shown to decrease scarring and improve healing. Silcone gel sheeting is good for the low transverse scar.