Had Tummy Tuck 2 Years Ago and Scar Still Very Red and Still Puffy? Is This Normal?

I had the TT 2 years ago and I am quite happy as I don't have the stomach that I did after having 2 children. My question is that I still have much swelling (majority during the time I am expecting my period), but the scar is still quite red and puffy. I used every lotion and scar cream and nothing has seemed to help. I am starting to get quite depressed over this. I had lipo on the flanks last summer and still puffy from that so wondering if that is the issue. Anyone else experience this?

Doctor Answers 4

Tummy tuck scar appearance - 2 years?

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Hello! Thank you for the question!  Without a photo or exam, it is difficult, however, consideration for steroid or revision is reasonable. It is common for scars to fully mature for up to a year. In the meantime, there are a few things that may help to ameliorate your incision/scar. The most proven (as well as cheapest) modality is simple scar massage. Applying pressure and massaging the well-healed scar has been shown to improve the appearance as it breaks up the scar tissue, hopefully producing the finest scar as possible. Other things that have been shown to add some benefit, albeit controversial, are silicone sheets, hydration, and topical steroids. These can usually be started at approximately 3-4 weeks postop and when incisions healed. In addition, avoidance of direct sunlight to the incision will significantly help the appearance as they tend to discolor with UV light during the healing process. Scars will never disappear, but attempt is made to make the finest scar in a concealed location. Incisions may be revised to lower or conceal better if enough laxity exists.

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!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Hypertrophic or keloid scar after tummy tuck

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Your scar is either hypertrophic or keloidal. A photo would be useful to determine which of the two you have. It is important to continue to follow up with your plastic surgeon rather than to self treat. The first line of treatment, after topical or silicone sheeting, is steroid injection into the scar. Radiation is beneficial for keloids and may be combined with serial excisions; however, the radiologists in my area no longer wish to assume the long term risks of this treatment notwithstanding its efficacy.

Lasers can improve tummy tuck scars.

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It sounds like you need a really good evaluation, either by your original plastic surgeon or by another one.  You can probably be made better.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Red puffy TT scar after two years.

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It would be helpful to see a photo to see what is swollen. If it is the scar itself, you have either a hypertrophic scar or keloid and your surgeon can help guide its treatment, which may involve steriod injection, laser treatment, radiation or surgical scar revision. 

If on the other hand the swelling is in the skin above the scars, the diagnosis and treatment will be quite different. Consider adding a photo to your inquiry, and do discuss options with your surgeon.



Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle 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.