Can I Have a TT if I Have Scars from Open Heart Surgery?

Hi. I want to have a full tt, but am wondering if scars from open heart sugery will be a problem.I have a vertical scar from the top of my sternum down to just below the bottom of my sternum (upper mid abdomen). At the bottom of the vertical scar I have drain tube scars. One on each side. So basically I want to know if this will prevent me from being able to have a tummy tuck.

Doctor Answers 10

A sternal scar from open heart surgery will not preclude a tummy tuck - excluding medical issues

I agree with the uniform consensus that your sternal scar will not preclude you from having a tummy tuck - it will be of no consequence. However, you did not explain what you had open heart surgery for. If it were for a medical condition that would place you at significant surgical risk - well that is a different story. The bottom line is that if you are medically healthy enough to undergo elective surgery and have medical clearance then a tummy tuck could be considered by you.

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Scars that complicate a tummy tuck

My answers assume that you are a good candidate for tummy tuck medically. That being said, an open heart scar would not have any impact negatively on your operation. 

Any upper abdominal transverse scar can be a problem as the entire abdominal wall is lifted from your muscles during the procedure. This means that the blood supply to your skin comes from above and laterally. Any scar that is significant't enough to interrupt this blood flow could lead to tissue loss and/or wound healing problems. 


Jay Burns, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Midline sternotomy incision does not preclude abdominoplasty

The vertical scar you describe for the cardiac surgery does not in and of itself prevent you from having an abdominoplasty, as long as you did not have a complication in the healing of the incision.   Abdominoplsty operations can be done on patients who have even had abdominal incisions for C- sections, appendectomies, gall bladder removal, and laparosopic surgery.

I second the other recommendations about checking with your cardiologist to be sure that your heart condition allows the performance of an abdominoplsty operation.


Best of Luck!

David N. Hing, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Tummy tuck after open heart surgery

The only reason you would not be a candidate for abdominoplasty after open heart surgery would be your medical condition. If you have the blessing of your cardiologist, then you can schedule your surgery. The scars from open heart surgery, in and of themselves, are not a reason to prevent you from having a tummy tuck.

Robert M. Jensen, MD
Medford Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Tummy Tuck Possible, But Other Risks Should Be Evaluated

More important than the scarring issue is the question of heart health.  Because tummy tuck surgery requires general anesthesia, which presents its own set of risks, it is vital that you consult with your cardiologist before undergoing any additional surgery to ensure that you are physically able to endure the procedure without compromising your overall health.  It’s difficult to offer accurate advice without seeing the extent of your existing scarring, but this should not prevent your plastic surgeon from performing the procedure.   If you developed a lot of scar tissue with your original procedure, it’s important to understand that you may be more susceptible to developing scar tissue after cosmetic surgery as well if you don’t follow proper aftercare instructions. 

David Whiteman, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Heart Surgery Scars Will Not Preclude Tummy Tuck

The median sternotomy scar that you describe should not interfere at all with a tummy tuck.  The drain scars may be in the area undermined, but this too should not be particularly problematic.  I am concerned about the reason for your heart surgery which may or may not put you at an increased risk for a tummy tuck or another elective surgery.  Check with your cardiologist about his/her opinion before proceeding.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Open Heart Surgery Scars and Tummy Tuck

The scars as you described should not preclude you from getting a Tummy Tuck, (Abdominoplasty).  The blood supply is what we worry about, and that scar should not interfere.  The scars that we are concerned with include a long scar under the costal margin.  This type of scar used to be common with cholecystectomy, (gall bladder) surgery.  Now, with laparoscopic surgery, this is much less of an issue.

One thing to have checked out is if you are a good operative candidate.  You mention your surgery.  It there any underlying porblems with your heart, etc?  Make sure you have a frank discussion with your board certified plastic surgeon about the risks and benifits of the surgery.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Mid sternal scar and Tummy Tuck

A mid-sternal scar from your cardiac surgery will not pose a problem with a tummy tuck.  But, as many of my colleagues have already suggested, you will need a formal evaluation by your internist and/or cardiologist before proceeding with an elective cosmetic surgery.  Your plastic surgeon will likely recommend "cardiac clearance" to make sure you are healthy enough for elective cosmetic surgery.  Best of luck.

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 211 reviews

Abdominoplasty candidate

Your sternal scar will not interfere with your ability to have a tummy tuck but your medical condition may.....I would suggest full medical workup and clearance by the doctors who know you best .  

Best Wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Sternal scar will not prevent a tummy tuck.

The sternal scar and drain scars from your heart surgery will not preclude you from having a tummy tuck operation. The drain scars and the lower border of the sternal scar may appear lower on your abdomen following a tummy tuck, but they are not a contraindication. More importantly is whether the health of your heart should discourage you from having a cosmetic tummy tuck. Only a thorough evaluation from you cardiologist can answer this question.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

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.