Is It Normal to Get White Pale Lines Down Your Abdomen After You Shower? (photo)

I am currently 19 days post op Tummy tuck, BL and BA and I've noticed this mostly after my shower. The first couple times it seemed to occur on my upper abdomen in a straight line like around where the muscles were sewed back together. The last time I noticed it on my lower abdomen even as far down as on my pubic bone. It always seems to go away within about 5-10 min. I'm just wondering if that is because the blood flow is not getting to that area?

Doctor Answers 7

Time will help!

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The white lines that are clearly demonstrated in your pictures are related to tissue ischemca.  These lines are related to tension on the midline closure.  When exposed to a warm shower vasomotor phenomena occur which cause dilation of the blood vessels which accentuates the problem.

                Fortunately this should improve with the passage of time as soft tissue relaxes and blood vessels re-establish themselves.  If you’re concerned about these white lines, it appropriate to consult your plastic surgeon.

Yes, the temporary pale areas are normal

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Thank you for the question and photos.  This effect is normal and is caused by some tension on the center part of the abdomen as well as the temporary increased blood flow to the surrounding areas secondary to the warm water of the shower.  Its essentially just a temporary blood vessel dilation difference and is nothing to be alarmed at.  This effect will stop occuring with time as the soft tissue tension normalizes.  The link below shows an example of this.

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Skin color changes after tummy tuck

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Thanks for your question and pictures.  First of all, it looks like you had a very good result so far with your surgery.  The discoloration you are describing is very clear in your pictures.  Based on the fact that it is temporary in nature, I would not be very concerned about it.  There are significant blood vessel changes occurring within your skin after surgery and the changes in temperature in a shower can magnify this.  If there was significant risk to healing, it would have been apparent by now.  Good luck with the rest of your recovery.

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Pale lines after a tummy tuck

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Thank you for your question and for providing the photos. At 19 days after surgery, any significant compromise of the blood flow to your abdomen would have been apparent by now. However, your skin may be more vaso-reactive to temperature changes for a while. This could account for the temporary white lines that you are experiencing. 

During the healing process, the small blood vessels that supply the skin can be more responsive to normal stimuli. This can occur in any healing area, including the abdomen after a tummy-tuck. This can present as changes in color or sensitivity. It resolves on its own over time.

If you have any ongoing concerns, I would recommend discussing them with your plastic surgeon. Otherwise, it looks like you have a wonderful result on your photos.

Best of luck with your continued recovery.

Jeff Rockmore

White lines on your belly after tummy tuck

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Based on your photos, it looks to me like it may just be some blanching of the skin from edema/swelling. It doesnt look like its anything to worry about. Just ask your surgeon the next time you see him.

Paul Wigoda, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Discoloration on abdomen

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Thanks for an interesting question and great pictures.  At almost three weeks out and given the temporary nature of the line after your shower, I do not think it is the type of vascular compromise that you will loose tissue.  You look like you will have an excellent result.

19 Days after Mommy Makeover and Blood Flow Concerns

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   At 19 days, you would have had already demarcation of dead tissues if you would have had an issue with blood flow.  After about 3 weeks, it would be unusual to have problems with flap compromise.  The cutaneous vasodilation from the warm water may give interesting patterns on the abdomen due to blood supply reorientation.  You can show your plastic surgeon or tell your plastic surgeon for confirmation or reassurance.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

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.