How Can I Treat Discoloration Around my Tummy Tuck Scar?

i had a tummy tuck 3 years ago, now i have a scar and reddish to purple skin all around the scar. How can I treat the discoloration around the scar? I can see the thin line that my surgeon told me I would have, it is very small and almost invisible, the problem is the red purple skin across the scar.

Would a laser treatment work best? I used contractubex, and it helped a bit but the purple is still there so I'd like to go with laser or whatever treatment is needed to remove the scar/purple skin?

Doctor Answers 15

IPL-Intense Pulsed Light-can help red purple scar from tummy tuck

Red purple scar at 3 years after tummy tuck most likely is caused by excess blood vessels. IPL or intense Pulsed Light can close the vessels and lessen the red color. The IPL is gentler and less painful than many of the lasers like the Pulsed Dye, and there is no bruising which occurs with the pulsed dye laser.

If the scar is raised and irritated then you have a hypertrophic scar-unlikely from yoiur description. However if the scar is raised, then non-ablative 1540 Erbium fractional laser can be very helpful.

Avoid CO2 lasers, they will not help this problem.

Abdominoplasty Scars may Develop Hyperpigmentation

Depending on your skin type, you may have developed hyperpigmentation of the skin. In this condition, the healing skin may have deposited excessive amounts of melanin. The first course of treatment is typically conservative with observation and time.

In cases where the pigmentation lasts for long periods of time after the initial surgery, the second course of action is typically the administration of hydroquinone topical cream for several months.

The best choice would be to return to your original surgeon and discuss the condition of your scar. He/She is most suited to discuss the scar and provide a treatment plan.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Never laser a remodelling scar resulting from any operation including a tummy tuck.

Even though it has been 3 years, your scar is still probably biologically active.  There is nothing you can do about it except wait.  Scar creams don's work.  Laser energy is converted to heat which will introduce thermal damage to an area trying to recover from surgical damage.

Be patient!

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Purple Scar after Tummy Tuck

Laser treatment can be very helpful in reducing discoloration, especially purple.

Get a good referral for the treatments, though:

  • be sure you are a good candidate for the treatment
  • the best laser tchnology is being used
  • the person treating you is well qualified

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Treatment options for purple/red scar

When a scar is purple or red, there is a vascular component which contributes to this color. Because this is far different than brown pigmentation, it must be addressed with lasers vs. topical products. In our practice, we have found the pulsed dye laser (VSTAR from Cynosure) to be an excellent tool to resolve the red/purple colors found with surgical, acne, and traumatic scars. W

e apply the same concept with red stretch marks. There is no downtime with these treatments and very little discomfort. Skin type or skin color is an important factor when determining whether or not someone is a good candidate for this laser and appropriate settings.

Please see below link for more information and photos.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Persistently red scar after tummy tuck

Red scars generally improve with time but may be diminished wihth the use of IPL or laser treatments. It may take a few attempts to find the treatment with the optimal response. In the meantime, ensure that you avoid sun exposure with a high SPF sunscreen/block which can make the scar persitently red.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Tummy Tuck scar

Three years is plenty of time for a scar to mature.  Ask your plastic surgeon about laser scar treatments. These procedures use lasers that work to decrease the redness and to help flatten the scar.  It usually take 3-6 treatments but can be very effective. 

Best wishes,

Neil J Zemmel, MD

Neil J. Zemmel, MD, FACS
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Your plastic surgeon can tell you if lasers will help your scar

After 3 years, your tummy tuck scar should have healed and matured sufficiently.

See your plastic surgeon for an evaluation to determine if laser treatments can help the appearance of your scar or the surrounding skin.

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Board Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Discoloration is often treatable with lasers

Depending on the exact color of your scars, they may be easily treatable with lasers. Talk to your surgeon to find out which laser will work best. Lasers work by being absorbed into tissue at a particular wavelength of light, so only certain lasers work for each particular color being treated.

Kevin Brenner, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Tummy Tuck scar discoloration should have settled after 3 years

At 3 years after surgery, the scars should have settled down. Sometimes lasers can be used to lighten the color. This may be the best approach.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 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.