What Type Of Abdominal Scar Revision Do I Need?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I’m interested in abdominal scar revision. I’m a 35 year old female who has a very big scar on my abdomen from an open surgery on my pancreas (Whipple procedure) done six months ago due to chronic pancreatitis and necrotizing pancreatitis. You can see where the staples were on the scar as well. I also have two small scars on both sides of my belly button from the same surgery where they attempted laparoscopic surgery. I’m most insecure about the huge scar from the open incision. Is it possible to remove this scar? What options are available to remove or reduce this scar? What cosmetic procedure is recommended? Can you tell me about these procedures? As it has only been 6 months since my surgery, how long would I have to wait before having a cosmetic procedure? As you can see I have a few other scars from a laparoscopic surgery to remove my gallbladder years before These scars are inside/right outside my belly button, two on the far right side of my upper abdomen, and one in the center of my upper abdomen right near my new scar. These scars are small and blend in well with my skin now. Will my other smaller scars from this past surgery blend in like these eventually or would it be possible to remove or revise all the scars? Would my current health be a factor in determining if I’m a candidate for cosmetic surgery? Please advise me as best as possible. I would really appreciate your help. Thank you!

A: In answer to your abdominal scar revision questions:

  1. I believe all of your scar appearances from this past extensive surgery are stable, will not improve, and can be revised at any time.
  2. As long as your healthy enough to go through surgery and heal uneventfully, then you would have no problem with extensive abdominal scar revisions. I would need to know more general health information and any medications that you may be on to answer this question better.
  3. Your scar revisions would be complete scar excision with abdominal skin flap raised to  close the extensive subcostal excision area. (like a reverse tummy tuck skin flap)

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana