Is it possible to fix the scars I now have from my tummy tuck? (Photo)

I had an umbilical hernia & abdominal diastase fixed via tummy tuck 5 months ago. My doctor said my skin was so thin from being stretched out (I'm 5'0 and 97 lbs) that he couldn't pull my skin all the way down & this is the best he could do (it looks like a "T" shape). I healed with hypertrophic scars even around the naval he made! I'm very fair and had two c-sections previously and had hypertrophic scars then too. Can these scars be fixed or lightened? I have a flat stomach but bad scars. Help!

Doctor Answers 9

Revision of abdominoplasty scars

The lower abdominal scars in the picture can certainly be improved.  The best time to do so is after the inflammation has resolved.  The scars are still quite red therefore there is still inflammation.  In a few more months the scars will fade some more and that may be a better time to do the revision.  While waiting silicone gel sheeting can be helpful.  When needed, a revision can be done in the office with local anesthesia.  The belly button will be a little harder to improve.  The redness there is from tension around the closure.  Cutting the scar out and reclosing will only put more tension on thes scar.  It will likely be best to just wait.  It will improve over time.  Silicone gel sheeting may be beneficial also while waiting.  It is worth a try.  If over time there is little improvement, I would consider steroid injections.  These are given directly into the scar and may improve some of the thickness and redness to the area.  Best of luck.

Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 131 reviews

Scars after tummy tuck

I've had great success in my office with the technique of making microscopic holes in the scar with a very sophisticated laser and then dropping small doses of both steroids and anti-metabolites that will aid in scar reduction but without the thinning and scar spreading that we used to see with scar injection of steroid.  This laser,  also reduces the thickness of the scar because each of these holes evaporates a portion of the scar into air. Because it's done in a fractional method, multiple treatments like this are done at 2 to 4 week intervals 4 to 6 times. Certain certainly certainly certainly silicone gel sheeting in the meantime will help flatten these thicker scars. We've also had good success with intense pulse light in reducing the red color of the scar. But it hasn't been as successful in reducing thickness. Good luck and I hope your result continues to improve.  

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Is it possible to fix the scars from tummy tuck?

There are several solutions to thick scar after tummy tuck, though often the pattern of healing is influenced by tension and by your inherited healing pattern. If you had a hypertrophic scar after c-section it is understandable that you have one again. You are early in healing and and will improve, but one solution easily tried is silicone scar sheeting to speed the maturation and softening.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Is it possible to fix the scars I now have from my tummy tuck?

EXCELLENT result based upon your medical history! Try IPL.............................................

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Tummy tuck question

I think your scars look as expected for this stage of healing. Given your complexion, these will fade nicely but Mother Nature takes her time and can take a year or longer. In the meantime, use silicone strips or scar cream (buy the generic to save $$). Regarding the vertical scar on your abdomen, this happens to all of us plastic surgeons from time to time. The good news is after at least 3 months (6 months better) after the tissues have maximally softened and you are not swelling any more, we can come back, revise and remove most, if not all of the scar. I have done this and it is definitely possible. Make sure you keep in contact with your plastic surgeon to discuss this option. Thanks for sharing!

Joel Patrick Maier, MD
Cincinnati Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Poor scarring after abdominoplasty

Poor scarring is partly due to the inherent genetic makeup of the patient, but inflammation and tension also play an important role.  Abdominoplasties are closed under tension, which should be much less with a scar revision, and suturing techniques can be used that reduce inflammation, so most scars can be improved.  IT is also much easier to prevent bad scars by careful followup in a scar revision procedure. However, scar revisions should be delayed for a full year after surgery to allow the scars to mature. In the meantime, patients can benefit from steroid injections into the scar, and in the first few months from silicone gel or creams.

Thomas A. Mustoe, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

Tummy Tuck Scars

Five months may seem like a long time but there is still some healing to be done and you can expect the scars to mature over a period up to a year.  Silicone sheeting is an option, or using silicone gel.  I would also ask your Plastic Surgeon if he/she offers IPL treatment.  IPL (intense pulsed light therapy) can be used to reduce the redness and speed up the healing process.  I have used that on my post op scars that remain red after 5 months and have seen good results.

Samuel Shatkin, Jr., MD
Buffalo Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Challenging Post-Abdominoplasty Scars

It sounds like your plastic surgeon removed all of the skin that he/she could. Based on your history of previous hypertrophic scarring with your C-sections, I am not surprised that you feel your scars are perhaps a little darker and thicker. 

For every surgery, there are things your plastic surgeon can control (tension free closure, atraumatic technique, etc), things that you control (adherence to postoperative recommendations and follow-up, use of recommend scar gels, etc), and there are things that neither one of you can control (genetics, tissue quality, etc). 

Your scars are definitely still in the healing phase at 5 months. Revisit with your plastic surgeon and see what he/she recommends (e.g. steroids, pulse dye, silicone scar gel). 

Ashley B. Robey, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Poor scarring

Your scars are still immature and have not fully settled out yet.  Things to discuss with your plastic surgeon are steroid injections and silicone sheeting.
Best of luck,
Sheila Nazarian

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 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.