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Will a tummy tuck help my C-section incision heal?

Q:

I had a C-section 19 months ago. I had a lot of excess skin hanging over after the pregnancy. A small opening has occurred at the end of the initial incision. Apparently, due to moisture being held under the excess skin, it never had time to heal properly. I have been approved for a tummy tuck to remove the skin and allow the C-section incision to heal. Will this help ? *Yes, I am a smoker as well*

 

A:

A tummy tuck will remove the c section scar as well as the excess skin you describe. The abdominal muscles will also be tightened during the procedure resulting in a significant improvement in the contour and appearance of your abdomen. The moist environment you describe from the overlying skin will no longer exist and removing the nonhealing wound should set you up for excellent healing. There is a slightly  increased risk of infection when operating in the presence of a chronic wound. Seek out a board certified plastic surgeon to evaluate you and help formulate a plan to safely achieve your aesthetic goals. Good luck

A:

The approval you received if it is based on insurance is for a panniculectomy.  A panniculectomy is a procedure that removes tissue below the umbilicus to the pubic area and is closed.  The closure is relatively easy becuase in this procedure there is no movement of the umbilicus.  There is also no tightening of the rectus muscles of the abdomen.  The panniculectomy procedure is one that is meant to improve hygiene so yes it will help you heal. 

A:

Thank you for your question. I would closely review your insurance approval so you will not end up with surprises after your surgery. Insurance companies do not cover tummy tucks or abdominoplasties. This operation removes lower abdominal loose skin, repositions the belly button, plicates or sutures your front abdominal muscles together to give you a flat abdomen and in most cases involves liposuction based on your surgeons training and comfort level. What you are covered for is known as a panniculectomy. This means excision of the lower abdominal loose skin ONLY. Since you are a smoker, this operation can be done without undermining the skin flap, thus reducing the risk of wound healing. Dissolvable sutures should be used, not to leave a permanent nidus for a possible future infection and non-healing wound. This procedure is often done by general surgeons. I personally do not do panniculectomies. Patients often tell their friends that they had a "tummy tuck" instead of a panniculectomy. Good luck.

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