Dog ears belong on dogs, not on your abdomen. Sometimes, however, patients complain about dog ears at their incision site after a tummy tuck. While certainly not rampant, dog ears after a tummy tuck are not uncommon. Fortunately, they’re also a fairly minor problem. Although they can admittedly diminish the look of your newly sculpted abdomen, they’re not painful or cause for alarm. They create no harmful medical issues. Your surgeon can fix this unsightly problem in a few minutes, usually during the course of a short in-office procedure. The procedure to get rid of dog ears is nowhere near as complex or intense as a tummy tuck itself and shouldn’t be as costly.
What Are Dog Ears After a Tummy Tuck?
Sometimes after a tummy tuck incision heals, there is a small piece of skin or fat that hangs over the edge of the incision, creating the appearance of a dog ear. Sometimes called standing cones, dog ears are a known potential complication when surgical incisions require an asymmetrical or elliptical cut, as tummy tucks do.
What Causes Dog Ears to Develop?
Dog ears often develop after skin tightening procedures because the tissue beyond the scar is looser than the tissue along the scar. Improper suturing techniques and failure to remove adequate skin during the tummy tuck can also result in dog ears, although their presence is not necessarily an indicator that your surgeon did not perform your procedure correctly.
Dog ears are more likely to develop in patients who have larger amounts of excess skin or who have poor skin elasticity. Poor wound healing due to improper post-surgical care can also cause dog ears, so it’s vital that you follow all of your surgeon’s care instructions after surgery.
Does Everyone Get Dog Ears After a Tummy Tuck?
Not everyone develops dog ears after a tummy tuck procedure. Everyone’s skin is different, and people heal differently. As mentioned above, the elasticity of your skin and the amount of excess skin you have before your surgery may impact whether or not you develop dog ears.
How to Prevent Dog Ears After a Tummy Tuck
Preventing dog ears after a tummy tuck begins with choosing a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon like those at Mia Aesthetics. Proper incision planning, wound closure, and suture techniques can all help prevent dog ears after a tummy tuck, so choose your surgeon carefully. After the procedure, make sure you follow your doctor’s care instructions closely and contact their office if you have any questions or concerns. Avoid smoking, as well, as smoking cigarettes is known to interfere with the body’s healing process.
How to Get Rid of Tummy Tuck Dog Ears
Even if you and your surgeon do everything right, dog ears sometimes still happen. When they do, getting rid of them requires a little help from your surgeon. Often done in the office, your surgeon can correct dog ears by administering a local anesthetic, trimming away the excess skin, and stitching the trimmed area closed. In some cases where the dog ear is comprised of fat rather than skin, a bit of liposuction may be necessary.
If you do experience dog ears, wait until about 6 months after your surgery to have them removed. Sometimes swelling occurs in pockets after surgery. This can make it appear that you have dog ears at your incision when you don’t. In this case, the “dog ears” will go away as you heal and the swelling and inflammation subside.