November 13, 2023

Navigating Scars in Bariatric and Cosmetic Surgery

Introduction

At MyLife Bariatrics, we understand that the decision to undergo bariatric or cosmetic surgery like a tummy tuck is significant. Alongside the life-transformative results, it's important to consider the scarring associated with these procedures. Know that the impact is very minimal!

This guide aims to provide detailed insights into the types of scars you can expect and how to effectively manage them.

 

Types of Bariatric Surgeries and Their Scarring

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

This surgery involves removing approximately 60-80% of the stomach. The incisions are small, typically around 1/2 cm – 1cm each, resulting in minimal scarring. Patients can expect about 3-5such scars dispersed across the upper abdomen. The incision on the right mid-abdomen where the stomach is  removed can be ~1-1.5cm. These scars fade significantly over time but may remain slightly visible. Applying sunscreen to the incision sites when sun exposed will help minimize the visibility of the scar.

 Gastric Bypass

Also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, this surgery creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach. The procedure usually requires 4-6 small incisions in the abdomen, each about an 1/2cm -1cmlong. These scars are small and become less noticeable as they heal, often blending into the natural contours of the body.

 Duodenal Switch

A more extensive procedure, the duodenal switch involves removing a large part of the stomach and rerouting a significant portion of the small intestine. It typically requires slightly more incisions than the sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass.. However, they typically heal well with minimal long term scarring.

 Scarring from a Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty will leave  a horizontal scar stretching from hip to hip, just above the pubic area. The length and visibility depend on the extent of the removed skin. Typically, there is  a scar around the navel. While these scars are more significant, they are typically positioned to be easily concealed by underwear or a swimsuit.

 

Scar Management

Effective scar management is crucial for optimal healing. Key steps include:

Early Care: Keeping the incision clean and dry, avoiding strain on the area, and following your surgeon's wound care instructions.

Sun Protection: Protecting scars from sun exposure is vital to prevent darkening for at least one year after surgery. Use a high-SPF sunscreen on the scar if exposed.

Topical Treatments: Using silicone-based gels or sheets can help flatten and fade scars. These are typically applied once the wound has fully closed around 3-4 weeks after surgery.

Hydration and Nutrition: Proper hydration and a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can aid in skin healing.

Preventing Scar Hyperpigmentation

Understand the Risk: Individuals with darker skin tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation.

Sun Avoidance: Consistent use of sunscreen on the scar area is essential.

Specialized Creams: Use creams containing ingredients like hydroquinone, kojic acid, or vitamin C, which can help lighten hyperpigmented scars.

Professional Treatments: In some cases, treatments like laser therapy or microneedling, performed by a qualified professional, can help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

Conclusion

Understanding scarring and its management is an important part of your experience with weight loss surgery and your journey with MyLife Bariatrics. Our team is dedicated to providing you with all the necessary information and support for optimal healing and satisfaction with your procedure. For personalized advice and care, we invite you to discuss your concerns and expectations with us.

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