Can Scar Revision Improve My Indented Abdominal Scar?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in scar revision surgery.  I have a transverse abdominal scar from surgery I had as an infant. It is “socked in” . My skin is adhered to my muscle and there is an overhanging lip above the scar. I am 27 years old. I also have a vertical 4.5 inch scar below the belly button I would like to have lightened. It is two years old. 

A: It is very common to see scars from abdominal surgery done as an infant to be completely adhered to the muscles. This is because at such a young age there is little to no subcutaneous fat between the skin and the muscle. The incision line scars down to the muscle (as there is little to no fat interface) and appears as an indented fixed line as fat tissue develops between the skin and muscle around it as the patient gets older. This can be dramatically improved by scar revision surgery by cutting out the scar, releasing the surrounding tissues from the muscle and advancing and closing the skin edges together. While a scar line will still be present, it will be leveled and a much narrower scar. Such scar revisions can often make for a dramatic change in the appearance of such scars.

When it comes to scar lightening that is a different matter. There are not many effective therapies for scar discolorations other than to cut (excise) out the scar.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana