Dog ears tummy tuck refers to skin puckering and/or excessive fullness at one or both ends of a scar. While there are ways to prevent or reduce the chance of this minor complication, certain types of patients remain susceptible.
For instance, massive weight loss patients—i.e., those who had lost more than 50 percent of their excess weight—have large redundant skin and markedly poor skin tone that makes them prone to dog ears tummy tuck, with medical literature suggesting that 15-20 percent will even require some type of revision to improve the appearance of their tummy tuck scar.
Nonetheless, there is one potent technique to avoid or at least minimize the risk of dog ears tummy tuck and other surgical “stigmata”: Use the right incision length, placement and shape during surgery.
Leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley says the vast majority of patients need the standard hip-to-hip incision pattern due to the natural diffusion of loose skin. Meanwhile, the mini tummy tuck in which the scar runs just a few inches below the navel is rarely beneficial.
Using a tummy tuck incision that is too short—i.e., it does not cover the entire span of redundant skin along the abdomen and flanks—is the primary cause of large dog ears, surface irregularities, and less than optimal contour of the waistline.
In order to prevent dog ears tummy tuck, achieve smooth results, and ultimately promote faded and well-healed scars, Dr. Smiley says that massive weight loss patients may even have to accept a longer scar that reaches their posterior flanks.
Despite the longer scar resulting from extended tummy tuck technique, Dr. Smiley says all efforts are made to position it very low that it goes within the groin and pubic hairline. Furthermore, suturing the surgical wound in which there is no or very little tension on the skin surface can help promote the best scar possible (i.e., almost as thin as a human hair and so it blends into the background after 6-18 months).
Another possible way to prevent dog ears is to perform a simultaneous liposuction of the flanks and hips. In Dr. Smiley’s previous posts on Snapchat, he says that with this ancillary procedure he is able to pull and tighten more skin, ultimately resulting in smoother and flatter contour.
Despite best efforts from the surgeon, dog ears tummy tuck may still occur in patients with a markedly poor skin tone. Fortunately, most will only require minor revisions that are performed in-office.
Dog ears revision is usually performed by slightly extending the scar, which allows the surgeon to remove the loose skin. Occasionally, liposuction is used as well to further eliminate the “fullness” at the edge of the scar.