Patients undergoing any surgical procedure, such as a tummy tuck, may rarely develop a reaction known as keloid scarring. Incisions for tummy tuck surgery are typically placed below the swimwear line, which prevents the reaction from being seen. However, keloids may still cause discomfort and irritation.
In addition to being uncomfortable, keloid scarring is often raised, red and darker than the surrounding skin. They are created as a result of excess collagen production following wound healing. For those more prone to the formation of keloids, there are certain steps that may be taken throughout the tummy tuck process to prevent this type of scarring.
Who Gets Keloid Scars and How to Avoid Them
It is impossible to tell for certain who will develop keloids and who will not. However, there are a number of factors that may predispose a patient towards this reaction. Those with darker skin and those who are 10-30 years old have a higher risk of developing keloid scarring. A family history of keloid development is also significant.
To prevent the formation of keloids for those who might be at an increased risk, your surgeon may choose to limit the size of the incision, particularly with the tummy tuck or other body contouring procedures such as an arm lift. They may also limit the amount of external sutures or use removable stitches.
Once the procedure is complete, proper wound care may help prevent keloids from forming. This may include:
- Use of compression garments
- Laser scar treatments
- Proper care of the wound to prevent it from opening
- Silicone gels and gel sheets
- Following recommended skin care regimen
Should keloids form, steroid injections may be used to treat their development. In severe cases, a skin graft may be used to replace the scarred and damaged skin with healthy skin. Once keloids have formed, future procedures will be done with extreme care for preventing keloid development, as patients are more likely to develop keloids if they have had them before.