Gastric Sleeve Surgery Scars: What to Expect
If you want to lose weight and look great, we recommend considering gastric sleeve surgery (sleeve gastrectomy). This restrictive weight loss procedure limits the amount of calories you can consume in a single sitting to promote lasting weight loss. The gastric sleeve is one of the most popular bariatric surgery options at our Tijuana, Mexico surgical weight loss center.
A number of people have asked us about scarring after gastric sleeve surgery. Let’s go over how the procedure is performed. We’ll then offer advice on what can be done to limit post-surgical scarring.
Where Are Surgical Incisions Placed?
During a gastric sleeve, the nature and location of the scars depends on the type of surgery performed.
- Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve - The most popular form of gastric sleeve surgery, a laparoscopic procedure means that three to five small incisions are made along the upper abdomen. Through these tiny incisions, small surgical tools can be used to reduce the stomach size.
- Single-Incision Gastric Sleeve - Single-incision gastric sleeves are procedures that involve just a single incision made in the belly button. These kinds of surgeries are much rarer than the multi-incision form of the procedure.
Are the Post-Surgical Scars Visible?
For traditional laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery, the small scars are slightly visible, but they fade significantly over time. They will be hard to detect as they fade.
With single-incision gastric sleeves, the scar is completely hidden inside of the belly button. This makes surgical scarring practically undetectable.
How Long Does It Take for Scars to Fade?
As with most surgical recoveries, scars after surgery will usually start to fade over the course of a few months. More significant fading will occur as the years go by.
Follow Post-Op Instructions Carefully
In order to prevent excessive scarring, it’s important that patients follow all instructions for follow-up care closely. The Tijuana Bariatrics team will provide detailed instructions on hygiene, sun exposure, diet, and physical activity. These will avoid major complications and help ensure the incisions heal and begin to fade sooner rather than later.
Do Not Pick Scabs or Scratch Incision Sites
To avoid visible scars, it’s crucial that patients not pick or scratch their incision sites. Allow scabs to form and fall off on their own after surgery.
Keep the Surgical Area Clean
Proper hygiene after surgery helps prevent infection. Be sure to change surgical dressings as directed, and following bathing and showering instructions in those first weeks after surgery.
Smoking slows down the healing process and makes infections more likely. Consider the bariatric surgery a good excuse to kick the habit for good. It’s a healthy new beginning to a healthier you.
Dry skin can make scarring and skin damage worse. That’s why it’s so important to stay hydrated. Drink water between meals, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other substances that cause dehydration.
Moisturize After Showers
On the note of hydration, it’s a good idea to moisturize after showers and baths. This will help you skin remain supple and healthy, and help fight scarring as well as signs of advanced age.
Avoid Sun Exposure
The sun’s UV rays can damage the skin, leading to visible scars and other flaws. In order to prevent these issues, be sure to use sunblock when you’re outdoors.
Should I Consider Professional Scar Revision Treatment?
If there are scarring issues after your gastric sleeve, the team at Tijuana Bariatrics can help. We can discuss professional scar revision therapies with you, and also suggest non-invasive treatments available over-the-counter at your local drugstore.
Learn More About Gastric Sleeve Surgery
For more information about post-op scarring and looking your best after a surgical weight loss procedure, be sure to contact our skilled bariatric surgeons and weight loss experts.