Will Tummy Tuck Incision on Stretch Marks Cause Problems?

If during a Tummy Tuck the incision made is through wide stretch marks, will the thin skin cause any healing problems?

Doctor Answers 5

Tummy Tuck incision on stretch marks

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Dear Debnfl,

Do not worry. We do it ALL the time.

Stretch marks are cracks through the dermis caused by sudden stretching which heal with scar tissue. For this reason they cannot be removed DESPITE the billions of dollars spent on ads telling you that.

An abdominoplasty will remove much of the stretch marks damaged skin below the belly button. Since the wound is held together with several layers of stitches UNDER the skin and the stretch marks, there should be no tension on them and they usually heal without a problem.

I would not postpone having an abdominoplasty based on this consideration.

Hope this was helpful.

Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tucks and stretch marks

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Placing the scar directly across stretch marks is not uncommon in tummy tucks, since it is usually not possible to remove ALL of the stretch marks. You are right to question healing, since it is more difficult to sew together skin that has stretch marks on it, however it should not impact healing of the scar itself.

Nirav Savalia, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Not necessarily...

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If an incision is made through wide stretch marks, healing will not necessarily be affected. Healing is most directly related to surgical technique and the patient's predisposition to healing and following post-surgical directions.

Louis P. Bucky, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

No necessarily, but

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Stretch marks are caused by changes in the dermal thickness of the skin. If the marks are extremely thin, this may make suturing to the opposing skin a bit difficult and the skin can swelll differentially causing temporary surface contour irregularities. There can also be potential "step-off" of soft tissue thickness that this thinning contribute to. These are all trade-offs to the positives of an improved contour.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck Incision Through Stretch Marks

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Your question is actually interesting and not without merit. Stretch marks are actually caused by rapid stretching of the skin such that occurs with pregnancy or weight gain. Genetics plays a large role. Some patients have skin that is less elastic and thus more susceptible to stretch marks. The appearance of these marks is due to splitting of the dermis (the deeper layer of skin) with an intact epidermis (the superficial layer).

Since the dermis is the main structural layer of the skin your question does pose an interesting theory. It would stand to reason that the tummy tuck incision would not heal as well. Fortunately, reality does not follow this theory as having done many tummy tucks on women with bad stretch marks I have not found there to be a problem with healing.

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.