Scar Advice

I have just had open surgery on Thursday (28th Aug). I know I am just panicking about everything. My scar obviously looks bad at this stage and I know will get better. But what is worrying me is that it has a rid (like a small tire!) Is that just the swelling? please tell me that will go when the swelling goes. I use to have a flat stomach and have never had a rid in my tummy area before.

Also when can I start putting oil on it to help reduce the scar. When they let you out of hospital they don't tell you what pain is normal or what things will look like.

Just panicking over everything. I have to stop doing that to myself. That's when my anxiety takes over.

3 Replies

  • I had a lap done in January of this year. It took about 2 months for my stomach to go back down to normal. For the scaring, I think as soon as the site is healed enough that you don't tear it open; you can put scar healing stuff on it. I didn't put anything on mine even though the left scar cut was way worse then the right. They are both healed very nicely and I can barely see the sites anymore.

  • Sounds like normal healing hun- the area will be very sore for a while. However if you get any:

    - Bleeding

    - Severe, agonising pain

    - The wound feels hot to touch

    - Pus

    - Fever

    - Vomiting

    - Smelly vaginal discharge

    - Bad headaches, muscle pain & light sensitivity

    then go straight to hospital. I wouldnt recommend putting anything on it until the scar has been given a month to really start to heal as it could irritate it. Your tummy will probs be very swollen for a while (particularly if you are constipated too) as youve just had a huge trauma in the area (its like a broken bone- it will swell for several days/weeks after).

    I agree that they really dont tell you enough about what to expect after surgery- & they should :( hope u feel better soon hun xxxx

  • My big hole scar was a very colourful bruise for some time. The ridge is still there - all colouration back to normal completely and the ridge is absolutely tiny now. Mine is across the bikini line so it doesn't get seen. There is a bit of an extra lump at the far right end which I guess is scar tissueit is not keyloid but it is a soft little bump.

    It is still a bit numb on the scar - 3 years later, but it isn't a problem.

    The most noticeable thing is a paunch above the scar. The scar is a tight bit of skin across the tummy but above it is looser and I have a bit of overhang there which I know others who have had that same direction cut also can experience.

    If your scar is a vertical one belly button down to bikini line then it's not something I can comment on, not having had that experience.

    I didn't use any oils - I did buy and use arnica gel cream for the bruising but in honesty I don't think it made any difference. If you are susceptible to keyloid scarring then oils may help, but I really mean it when I say my scar is barely noticeable. I don't think anyone else would notice if it was higher up and i was wearing a bikini. I wouldn't recommend you use the oil till the wound is really healed up on the surface - couple of weeks after op at the least. I didn't put the arnica on the wound itself - just the bruised skin round it.

    I've had previous laparoscopy holes and had lap holes before the open turned in to an open op, so my stomach is peppered with tiny lap hole scars if you look hard enough you can spot them - some are nearly 15 years old. I don't think they are that noticeable at all and I know roughly where they are, but do have to look around to see them. My past partners have never noticed or commented on them.

    Swelling is normal - and it is sore - but the main thing to watch out for is infection. Pus, weeping etc

    also internal infections causing hot skin and red colouring (not to be confused with the bruising ), feeling feverish, vomiting, raised temperature - signs of infections must get checked out at the NHS drop in centres, or with your GP clinic nurse or doc as soon as you suspect there is a problem.

    The stitches take ages to dissolve - i still have some around 3 months after - but they do go- eventually.

    Top priority is keeping bugs out and the wound disinfected and dry.

    I did have some large dressings from the hosp - but found it easier to buy normal non stick wadding and cut that to size and the wound was not straight - had a bit of a curve to it.

    Open air drying is much better than towel drying after a wash. lying back with tummy wound exposed to the open air is better than rubbing the wound or patting it dry.

    Wearing dressings all the time encourages sweating and microbes and infections - i learned the hard way from a previous lap - and an infected belly button wound.

    Don't fiddle with it or mess with it, it does get itchy as it heals - but try to resist getting finger nails (and their bugs) near it. if you need an itch - stick on a light dressing with micropore tape over the top and gently scratch that, which acts as a bug barrier between fingers and wound.

    A c-section support belt can be very handy to hold everything in in the early stages - nothing expensive or fancy - just a basic velcro fastening band around the tummy over any dressings and clothes adds much need support - especially useful when bearing down for a poop when you have no tummy mucles to use.

    Rubber soled slippers or shoes so you can press down in the floor in front of the loo and use thigh muscle power to help with bearing down is useful too .

    Have a look on the new mummy websites where there will be a lot more 1st hand experiences of how to cope with a C-section wound (the same as a laparotomy - in terms of skin care and coping with activities like loo trips and getting in and out of cars and reaching for seat belts and so on.

    Took me about 4-5 months to be op pain free, and about a year to get my tummy muscles back to full strength again without doing any specific tummy exercises.

    Don't do any tummy exercises till you're op pain free - any extra strain on the muscles while they are still knitting back together will be a sore set back.

    In the early weeks don't lift anything heavier than a half filled kettle or a thermos flask.

    You won't believe how many activities need tummy mucles and it is very easy to have a sudden sharp pang or spasm of pain when you least expect it - be very careful when carrying hot drinks like a soup or mug of coffee, just in case this happens.

    Invest in a safe container like a flask for carrying hot drinks round the house from kitchen to lounge or bedroom etc.

    Have a bottle of drinking water near you all the time, to keep hydrated and help with taking pain killers as and when needed.

    A cushion or pillow or rolled up towel to press in to your tummy when you fart, laugh, turn over, sneeze, or on the loo too, will help ease the stress on your sore tummy when you need those muscles that are no longer working in your favour.

    Do not be in any rush to recover - it will only delay recovery and give you a set back. You will heal you will get better and you will get to the stage of being op pain free in time. But it is not a quick trip. it's a major ordeal your body has endured and will need a lot of gently TLC to get back to normal.

    My op was in July - it was x-mas when I was able to lift a 1 year old toddler and not wince in pain.

    My stomach was flat before it swelled up with bloat from ovarian cysts. It has never been back as flat as it was before that - not from the hole but because so much work was done inside too in the op , and I haven't made any effort to get exercising to return to flat tummy mode. I am just so grateful to be free of endo pains - and have a mirena stopping periods that I am enjoying life again after decades and the last thing on my mind is faffing about a small paunch. Plus I know I do have a current ovarian cyst and wouldn't dare do anything to possibly cause that to spring a leak and cause me months of pains again like previous ones have done. It isn't worth the risk to my way of thinking. I am too thrilled to be pain free to be worrying about my little battle wounds.

    I do get a lot of gentle exercise walking the dog 2-3 times a day and my job is on my feet, so I probably cover about 3-5 miles walking a day at a guestimate. Very much depending on where the dog wants to go walkies and how long it takes him to have a sit down strike and not walk anymore.

    It took couple of months for me to be safe driving. I did try earlier than that and was fine going forward - but in agony reversing.Take someone with you as back up driver, go for a trip to an empty carpark and practice your driving in safety to see how well you cope with 3 point turns, reverse parking and so on. If it hurts too much and leaves you sore afterwards too, then its too soon to get back on the road and wait a couple more weeks.

    Rest assured the bruising subsides, some of the numbness will ease off but not necessarily all, and the swelling will calm down and probably leave that bit of skin tighter or more taught than the rest of the tummy....but not yet !!

You may also like...