Tummy tuck scar is almost always positioned within the groin and pubic hairline so it is well concealed by the patient’s panty or swimwear. Nonetheless, it remains imperative to apply surgical techniques and postop care that aim to encourage the scar to heal into a faded, thin line.
Orange County plastic surgery expert Dr. Tarick Smiley has recently posted Snapchat videos demonstrating an African-American patient who asked for tummy tuck. Due to her previous C-section surgery, she had keloids across her lower abdomen.
Since the patient has a previous history of keloid, Dr. Smiley says she is at an increased risk of unfavorable scar after tummy tuck, which typically uses a hip-to-hip incision to remove the hanging skin and fat. Another incision made inside the navel’s rim is created in order to remove any excess skin from the upper abdomen.
Dr. Smiley says that tummy tuck and keloids risk is closely tied to genetics and darker complexion, although several risk factors can be controlled or at least minimized to help patients achieve the most favorable scar possible.
During surgery, Dr. Smiley created a hip-to-hip incision to remove the excess skin, together with the C-section keloid scar. Then, he closed the wound line and ensured that it is positioned very low that even low-rise jeans and panties have no problem concealing it.
Dr. Smiley says he always closes tummy tuck wound in multiple layers, with the deepest layer receiving most of the tension, while the skin is spared from unnecessary tautness, which is the key to favorable scar and fast healing.
To further minimize risk of keloids, the celebrity plastic surgeon uses surgical tapes to hold the skin edges together until the wound is considered clinically healed (about three weeks).
Around three weeks postop, new skin tissue forms over the wound; for patients with a strong history or propensity to aggressive scarring this is a precursor to keloids.
Hence, for the said patient Dr. Smiley says he recommends steroid injection right after the tummy tuck wound is considered clinically healed, instead of waiting for it to become established.
“For this particular patient, I would use early steroid injection as a preemptive measure,” says Dr. Smiley.
To further promote the best scar possible, the surgeon also recommends silicone sheets, sun protection, and scar massage.