Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Tummy Tuck Scar 3 Months Post Op

Three months after undergoing a tummy tuck procedure, patients can expect to see a significant improvement in swelling. This marks the beginning of the final results starting to take shape, as the body continues to heal and adjust to the changes made during surgery. It is at this stage that patients should be able to resume their normal routines and daily activities, as long as they follow their surgeon’s post-operative care instructions.

One common issue that some patients may experience after a tummy tuck is hypertrophic scars. These scars are caused by an excess amount of tension around the healing wound, which leads to the formation of thick, raised, and often red-colored scars. Unlike keloid scars, which continue to grow beyond the boundaries of the original wound, hypertrophic scars are contained within the boundaries of the incision site. These scars can remain in this state for several years if not properly treated.

Hypertrophic scars are the result of an imbalance in collagen production at the site of the wound. Collagen is a protein that is essential for wound healing and skin regeneration. When there is an excess amount of collagen being produced, it can lead to the formation of raised scars. To help prevent or improve the appearance of hypertrophic scars, patients can utilize various scar management products available on the market.

Some popular scar management products on Amazon that may help with hypertrophic scars include:

– ScarAway Silicone Scar Sheets: These sheets are made with medical-grade silicone that helps to soften and flatten raised scars.
– Mederma Advanced Scar Gel: This gel contains a unique blend of ingredients that promote the healing of scars and improve their overall appearance.
– Bio-Oil Skincare Oil: This oil helps to improve the elasticity of the skin and reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks.

In conclusion, three months post-tummy tuck marks an important milestone in the healing process, with noticeable improvements in swelling and the beginning of final results taking shape. Patients should be aware of the possibility of hypertrophic scars and take proactive steps to manage them using appropriate scar management products. By following their surgeon’s recommendations and utilizing these products, patients can achieve optimal results and enjoy the full benefits of their tummy tuck surgery.

Woman with cream on her finger to apply to tummy tuck scar.

Tummy Tuck Scar 3 Months Post Op

All surgery involves incisions, and these incisions turn into scars. With proper care and these great tips, the scars you get from your tummy tuck surgery can be visibly reduced so they’re barely noticeable.

Aflatter stomach, contoured waist, smoother skin, and better muscle tone — your tummy tuck surgery has done wonders for your body. You’re ecstatic about your leaner, fitter shape, but are concerned about how to minimize the appearance of the scars you’ve been left with. Typical tummy tuck scars are located in one or more of these areas:

Pelvic area

Regardless of whether you had a mini or full tummy tuck, you’ll have a scar that runs horizontally across your lower abdomen from hip to hip, located a few centimetres below your belly button. The horizontal scar can vary in length. It may be just a few centimetres, which is often the case for mini tucks, or extend well over each hip to the sides of your back. The scar may also be placed in relatively the same spot where a C-section was.

Belly button

Full abdominoplasty involves a scar around your belly button. This scar may be quite noticeable at first, but with time, you’ll notice that it virtually disappears because it blends in so well with your belly button.

Lower abdomen

In rare cases, you may also have a scar that runs from your belly button vertically down to the horizontal incision.

What is a scar?

A scar is any mark or blemish that was caused by the skin healing over from a wound. Normal scar formation usually follows these steps:

The first stage – closure

Whenever your skin is broken, as is the case with incisions made during your tummy tuck surgery, your body creates collagen fibres to fill it in and close it. This takes about three to four weeks.

The second stage – establishment

Collagen continually builds up at the wound site, protecting and strengthening the affected area. To support its formation, blood supply to the area increases. Both factors cause the new scar to become darker, thicker and prominent. This takes about three to six months.

The final stage – maturity

Once enough collagen has formed at the wound site, some of it breaks down and blood supply decreases. The scar becomes lighter, thinner, flatter and less palpable as well as visible. This process can take one to two years, at which point they are considered fully mature.

You should expect your scars to look darker, textured and generally worse before they get better. You may notice that they look particularly bad a couple of months after your surgery. Try not to feel discouraged because they will improve!

Irregular scars

Some patients worry about irregular scars. Irregular scarring can be hypertrophic or keloid, both resulting from an excess of collagen. Hypertrophic scars are those that are raised and redder than the unaffected skin surrounding it. Keloids are a severe type of hypertrophic scars, in which scar tissue forms beyond the original wound site–>

Minimize your scars with these 6 tips

Once you get a scar, it’s pretty much yours for life. Scarred skin will always look different from unscarred skin, in that it will be paler and have a smoother texture. It may also look stretched. There are things that you can do to make your scars less visible. But just remember, the purpose of anything you do is to minimize the appearance of the scar, not eliminate it.

1. Follow care instructions. Right after your surgery, start following the incision care instructions we give to you. Instructions on hygiene and wound care will help your incisions heal properly and faster.

2. Monitor for infection. If you suspect your incision is infected at any point, let us know immediately. Infected incisions can lead to more prominent scarring.

3. Start topical treatments at the right time. Once the incision is no longer covered by scabs (don’t pick at them!) and has totally closed, you can start with topical treatments. The easiest option is to apply a product containing silicone, in the form of a gel, cream or sheeting. Silicone replicates the occlusion properties of the stratum corneum (the out layer of the skin) so that the hydration of scar tissue is normalized and, possibly, excess collagen production is stopped.

Tummy Tuck Scar Healing Stages

However, there are three distinct stages to healing and your scar will have a different appearance during each stage. The three phases to healing are the inflammatory stage, the proliferative stage and the remodelling stage.

We usually advise people that it takes about a year for them to judge the final results from any cosmetic surgery treatment”, says Mr Henley.

“Usually the scars will heal rather quickly – within the course of a few weeks to one or two months – but you may not see final results for up to a year. Individual factors also influence how quickly your body is able to recover from a wound.” 

In older patients, or where the skin is more lax, scars settle more rapidly. In younger patients, or where the skin is more taught, it will take eighteen months to two years before the scar is mature.

What will my scars look like?

This will of course depend on the operation site and a number of personal factors come into play. However, there are three distinct stages to healing and your scar will have a different appearance during each stage.
The three phases to healing are the inflammatory stage, the proliferative stage and the remodelling stage. The inflammatory stage begins immediately and lasts a few days. During this time, the bleeding stops and white blood cells come to the site and fight any infection. The wound at this point will look red and swollen and pink.

Scar at one week

Scar at eight weeks

Scar at one year

After this, the proliferative stage takes place and continues for about three to four weeks. (To proliferate means to grow by rapid production). Fibroblasts (cells that are capable of forming skin and other tissue) gather at the site of injury. One of the most important duties of the fibroblasts is to produce collagen. Collagen is important because it increases the strength of the wound. The collagen continues to be produced for two to four weeks, pulling the edges of the wound together, and new capillaries (tiny blood vessels) are formed to aid the healing process. After this time, destruction of collagen matches its production and so its growth levels off. Abnormal scars can develop if this stage goes ‘faulty’.

The scar becomes thicker, red and contracts. It makes the scar more obvious and uncomfortable. The unpleasant appearance understandably causes some people concern at this point.

Finally, the remodelling stage begins and continues for a period from several weeks to a few years. Scar remodelling is what changes a thick, red, raised scar to a thin, flat, white scar and over the course of time, your scars will usually fade and become barely noticeable.

Personal factors that affect wound healing

How you heal will depend greatly on your genetics, for example, darker skin can produce darker and thicker scars.

  • Certain illnesses such as diabetes, thyroid disease, high blood pressure and poor circulation can decrease the body’s ability to heal.
  • Nutrition – Studies show that your body needs zinc, vitamin C, protein, iron, adequate calories, vitamins and minerals to heal effectively.
  • Your age – Younger people generally heal more easily than older people, but older people’s scars fade more rapidly.
  • Non-smokers, on average, heal more quickly than smokers.
  • Skin quality and blood supply to an area. For example, skin that has already been thinned and stretched through the weight of heavy breasts is at increased risk for raised, wide or irregular scars.

Abnormal scars – Keloids and Hypertrophic Scars

Keloids are large, bulky, raised, reddish scars that develop at the site of an injury or operation site. They can be very unsightly indeed. Unlike other scars, they gradually grow bigger.

This will of course depend on the operation site and a number of personal factors come into play. However, there are three distinct stages to healing and your scar will have a different appearance during each stage.
The three phases to healing are the inflammatory stage, the proliferative stage and the remodelling stage. The inflammatory stage begins immediately and lasts a few days. During this time, the bleeding stops and white blood cells come to the site and fight any infection. The wound at this point will look red and swollen and pink.

Normal Scar following a face lift

Keloid Scars

With keloids, the fibroblasts that make the collagen continue to multiply even after the wound is filled in. Thus, keloids grow above the surface of the skin and form large mounds of scar tissue. “It is often described as the scar that doesn’t know when to stop”, says Mr Henley.

Keloids can occur anywhere on the body, but are most common on the ears, neck, shoulders, upper arms, chest, or back. Symptoms include pigmentation of the skin, itchiness, redness, unusual sensations and pain. Although anyone can form a keloid scar, some ethnic groups are more at risk. People of African or Asian descent are more likely to develop keloids than people with lighter skin. However, people with ginger hair and very fair skin are also at increased risk of hypertrophic or keloid scarring. Men and women are equally affected.

Says Mr Henley, “The upper arm was specifically chosen as the most appropriate site for a TB vaccination on the basis that poor scarring could occur in that area. This allowed teams of doctors to quickly and easily check if populations had been vaccinated without the need to look at any medical records or other paperwork. All that had to be done was to line people up and inspect their left upper arms.”

There is a genetic component to keloid scarring. If someone in your family has keloids then you are at increased risk.

A hypertrophic scar looks similar to a keloid. Hypertrophic scars are more common, but they don’t get as big as keloids and often subside by themselves (a process that can take up to one year or more). They occur in all racial groups.

A hypertrophic scar remains within the length of the original wound. If it grows beyond the original wound’s boundary, it becomes a keloid scar.

Treatments for scars

Different scars need different treatments. Do not be surprised if Mr Henley advises leaving the scar alone for a while to see if this problem resolves on its own, particularly if it is less than a year old. Mr Henley might recommend compression therapy, intense pulsed light or laser therapy, steroid injections, application of a special silicone sheet or scar revision surgery.

Keloid scar on arm.

Hypertrophic Tummy Tuck Scar

Hypertrophic scars usually occur within 4-8 weeks following a Plastic Surgery procedure. The original scar becomes raised, but the borders of the scar do not extend beyond the original wound closure margins. In most cases, hypertrophic scars are linear.

While a hypertrophic scar is thick and raised, it looks different from a keloid because it does not extend beyond the original margins of the wound. The hypertrophic scar is usually linear, whereas the keloid scar is irregular and cauliflower-like.

Which procedures can get hypertrophic scars or keloids?

Either one of these scars can develop following any procedure where an incision is made. This not only includes procedures with longer incisions such as the abdominoplasty, but also includes any type of ‘lift procedure’ such as breast lifts, body lifts, face lifts, and lip lifts.

Does gender, age, or family history matter?

The occurrence of keloids and hypertrophic scars has equal sex distribution and are most common in the second or third decade of life.

While family history is not a big factor in hypertrophic scars, family history is highly correlated to the incidence of Keloid formation. More than 50% of all keloid patients have a family history of keloid scarring!

However, some scars follow a more aggressive path, and can even get worse as time goes on. When the body produces too much collagen in an effort to repair the damage it can result in a ‘raised’ scar. These are considered ‘bad scars’ or ‘adverse scar conditions’ and they can unfold following any incision, including an incision made during a plastic surgery procedure.

While scars are a necessary evil for any plastic surgery procedure that has an incision, certain types of scars are worse than others. These undesirable scars are known as hypertrophic scars and keloids.

Both types of scars can be unsightly, but keloids tend to be more pronounced and dramatic as they take on a cauliflower-like look. While keloids are more rare than hypertrophic scars, keloids are also much harder to treat. Proper treatment of either scar type is firmly rooted in correctly diagnosing whether it is a hypertrophic or keloid scar.

HYPERTROPHIC SCARS

Hypertrophic scars can develop in wounds that were closed under high tension. The term high tension refers to the way that the incision was closed when it was sutured shut (where you were sewn together).

High tension means that the wound closure is stretched tight. This can especially occur in areas where there is a lot of movement. High tension can cause the scar to expand and become thicker. Wounds that are sutured at deeper layers typically have lower tension. Wounds that are closed only at the surface, usually have a higher amount of tension.

Symptoms and Appearance

Hypertrophic scars usually occur within 4-8 weeks following a Plastic Surgery procedure. The original scar becomes raised, but the borders of the scar do not extend beyond the original wound closure margins. In most cases, hypertrophic scars are linear. These scars can resolve with conservative pressure therapy and with time. The other good news is that hypertrophic scars can be eliminated by surgically removing them.

Incidence

The incidence of getting some degree of a hypertrophic scar following a surgical procedure in the general population is 40%-70%. While this is high, there are varying degrees of hypertrophy, and some scars are more acceptable than others.

KELOIDS

Keloids are irregular looking scars that form after an injury or surgical procedure. Simply put, a keloid is an unsightly scar that oversteps its original borders.

The scar will not only be raised, but it bubbles up beyond the original incision outline. Although there are therapies which can help keloids, they are more difficult to eliminate than hypertrophic scars.

Symptoms and appearance

A keloid scar has a raised and bumpy appearance, which extends past the original scar. In many cases, a keloid can have a cauliflower-like appearance. Keloids can form immediately after the injury or procedure, but can also occur months, or even years after the procedure.

Incidence

Keloids have a very small incidence among the general population, but dark-skinned individuals are much more susceptible. Keloids have an incidence rate of 6-16% in African populations. Family history of keloids is a huge predictor of developing keloids, so anyone with a family history of keloids should be sure to mention it to their Plastic Surgeon prior to their procedure.

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