Q: Dr. Eppley, I am considering getting a tummy tuck but am somewhat concerned about the scar. I know the scars can look quite good in some cases but not in everyone. Since I have a c-section scar I am wondering if this is a good ‘test’ as to what a tummy tuck scar would look like on me. I had a c-section about 3 years and the scar is still red, raised, and uneven. I remember right after my c-section I could feel my skin above and below the sutures overlapping. My question is will my tummy tuck scar be same way or will the scar be a thin line with no raised areas?
A: Your question is a good one and, in theory, how one incision on the body heals (particularly the same body area) should be an indicator of how the next one would heal. But the reality is that many factors go in to how an incision heals and they can dramatically affect how the final scar can look. C-section incisions, if closed well, should always look good because there is no tension on the wound closure. Lack of wound tension usually predicts a very narrow scar. Conversely, a tummy tuck incision is always under considerable tension which is why plastic surgeons use a meticulous multiple layer closure technique with most sutures under the skin to obtain a narrow scar. Tummy tuck scars are almost always a lot longer than that of a c-section. One of the key elements in this closure technique is to get a good leveling of the tissue layers so the skin edges are even across the scar line. Based on how you describe your c-section scar, I strongly suspect you will get a better looking tummy tuck scar.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, I was looking at the tummy tuck pictures and was interested. I looked again the next day and I was able to get a closer look and the scars are very big. I have decided I’m going to try and go to a center for weight loss and see how that works first. Approximately, how much does a tummy tuck with flank liposuction cost?
A: While a full tummy tuck will solve the problem in a manner otherwise not achievable, the ‘price’ to be paid for it is the trade-off of the a long horizontal scar. While very effective, you have to be certain that this aesthetic trade-off is worth it to you. That is why I could not agree more that you pursue every non-surgical option first and only consider surgery when you have become convinced that all other methods are not achieving what you want. Much of plastic surgery is about trading one problem for another, you just have to be certain that the other ‘problem’ is more acceptable that what you have now. In the case of a full tummy tuck that aesthetic trade-off is the scar. The approximate total cost of a full tummy tuck with flank liposuction, which is what you ideally need, is around $8500 all costs included.
Dr. Barry Eppley