What are the types of weight loss surgery scars? A Complete Guide

Have you ever wondered what the journey of weight loss surgery scars looks like? They are battle scars – proud emblems of your determination to claim back health.

This transformation isn’t just skin deep; it’s about a healing process over time. Like an artist creating intricate details on their masterpiece, your body slowly works magic and transforms these signs into subtle reminders. You may have heard stories or seen pictures. Still, every individual is different – from skin type to age, even the choice between a laparoscopic gastric sleeve and open gastric bypass can change how this story unfolds. The best part? You’re in control! So, how do you steer this journey towards less visible bariatric scars?

Are you intrigued yet? Let’s dive deeper and uncover the insights that…

Table Of Contents:

Understanding Weight Loss Surgery Scars

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, it’s natural to question what kind of scars will result. While scarring is inevitable when an incision is made in the skin during procedures like gastric sleeve or bypass surgery, understanding how these form and change over time can help set realistic expectations.

The Body’s Healing Process and Scar Formation

When your body experiences a surgical wound, its response is to kickstart healing. New collagen forms at the site of injury as part of this process. This isn’t just for weight loss surgery scars; it happens anytime your skin gets injured. The new tissue that develops doesn’t have the same texture or appearance as the surrounding skin – hence, we see a scar.

Scars are signs that your body has done its job repairing after an operation such as bariatric surgery. As much as they may concern us from a cosmetic perspective, they’re evidence of our body’s resilience.

Factors Influencing Scar Appearance

Different people heal differently—there’s no one-size-fits-all rule for how scars appear post-operation. Factors affecting scar formation include age, genetics, and even your type of skin pigmentation.

Bariatric surgeries also vary in technique: open operations typically involve long incisions leading to more noticeable scarring than laparoscopic surgeries, which leave behind smaller marks often hidden near natural creases or inside the belly button.

Your ethnicity and genetics play a role as well. Some genetics lead to keloid scaring, which is ragged and thick. Fortunately, keloid scars are not common.

Your surgeon plays a crucial role, too—their skill level influences success rates and aesthetic outcomes, including size and placement of incisions, which affect scarring. Lastly, how you care for your wound post-operation can greatly influence the appearance of your scar.

While it’s impossible to completely avoid scars after bariatric weight loss surgery, understanding why they occur and what influences their appearance is key in managing expectations. Remember that these scars are badges of courage showing a step towards better health.

Key Takeaway: Scars from weight loss surgery are unavoidable, but knowing how they form can help manage your expectations. Your body’s healing process creates these marks as a sign of resilience. Age, genetics, skin type, and surgical technique influence their appearance. So remember, while you can’t dodge them entirely, these scars symbolize a brave step towards better health.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery Scars

Undergoing gastric sleeve surgery is a significant step towards achieving weight loss. But, like all surgeries, it leaves behind scars. So, what can you expect from gastric sleeve surgery scars?

Laparoscopic vs Open Gastric Sleeve Surgery Scars

The appearance of your scar after gastric sleeve surgery largely depends on the surgical technique used.

Small incisions are made in the abdomen for laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery, leading to multiple scars that may be hidden around or near the navel. These result in smaller scars that might even be hidden near your belly button or elsewhere on your abdomen.

If open surgery were performed instead of a laparoscopic gastric sleeve, there would likely be one long scar along the abdomen’s midline rather than multiple small ones. Although this type of scar may appear more noticeable at first glance compared to those left by laparoscopy, it often fades significantly with time and proper care.

Dr. Moein at Healthy Life Bariatrics states, “Gastric sleeve surgery scars can range from virtually invisible to 4 or 5 small light scars or a long scar depending on the technique used.”

Your age also plays an essential role as younger patients tend to heal faster, making their scarring less prominent over time than older individuals who have undergone similar procedures.

Beyond these factors, though, everyone’s skin reacts differently during the healing process because each individual’s body has its unique way of responding to injury and repair, which could influence how visible post-operative marks will look later down the line after everything has healed up properly.

No matter what bariatric weight loss surgery you opt for, open or laparoscopic gastric bypass, proper aftercare is crucial to ensure optimal healing and minimal scarring. Following care instructions diligently, like keeping incisions clean, can promote your body’s natural healing process and lead to less prominent scars over time.

Key Takeaway: Expect scars after gastric sleeve surgery, but their size and visibility depend on the surgical technique. Laparoscopic methods lead to smaller, often hidden scars, while open surgeries result in one longer scar that can fade with care. Age impacts healing speed and scarring prominence too. No matter what, proper aftercare is key for minimal scarring.
Weight Loss Surgery Scars

Weight Loss Surgery Scars

Gastric Bypass Surgery Scars

Regarding gastric bypass surgery, scars are an inevitable part of the journey. Don’t be disheartened by the scars – they show your strength and commitment to living healthier. They’re like badges of honor, a testament to your determination and courage in pursuing a healthier life.

Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Scars

Laparoscopic gastric bypass is known for its minimally invasive approach. Small incisions around the belly button allow surgeons to operate with specialized instruments and cameras. This technique results in multiple small scars, typically between 1/4″ and 1″ long.

The advantage? These laparoscopic gastric bypass scars are less noticeable over time than their open-surgery counterparts due to their size and placement near natural skin folds. Healing also tends to be faster as smaller wounds require less time for the body’s natural healing process.

Open Gastric Bypass Scars

In contrast, open gastric bypass surgery involves making one large incision across the abdomen instead of several smaller ones. The resulting scar from this surgical technique can range from 8″ up to even 10″. It’s certainly more prominent than laparoscopic scars but remember – every scar tells a story.

This longer scar might take longer during post-surgical aftercare because it requires longer for your body’s natural healing process. However, following proper care instructions, such as keeping incisions clean, will help ensure optimal recovery while minimizing potential complications.

Throughout this transformative weight loss journey, though, remember – every patient’s experience with scarring varies depending on factors like skin type or age among others.

Keep reading ahead where we delve deeper into how to manage and minimize these bariatric weight loss surgery scars.

Comparing Weight Loss Surgery Scars

Regarding bariatric weight loss surgery, scarring can be a concern. But did you know the type of scars largely depends on the surgical technique used? Let’s compare gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery scars.

Gastric Sleeve vs Gastric Bypass Scars

In gastric bypass surgery, surgeons create a small pouch at the top of your stomach and connect it directly to your small intestine. This operation can be performed through open or laparoscopic methods, leading to different scar appearances. Laparoscopic surgeries typically result in several smaller incisions that heal into less noticeable scars – between 1/4″ and 1″. However, an open procedure may leave an 8″-10″ long scar due to its single but larger incision.

Gastric sleeve surgery, or sleeve gastrectomy, involves removing part of your stomach so you feel full more quickly than when eating with a normally sized stomach. Like gastric bypass, this operation can also be done using either laparoscopic or open techniques. A laparoscopic approach leaves multiple small light scars while an open method might leave one longer scar – size varying depending upon individual healing responses and aftercare followed by patients.

Laparoscopic vs Open Weight Loss Surgery Scars

If we focus solely on surgical techniques for both procedures—laparoscopy versus open—you’ll notice differences, too. With multi-port laparoscopic gastric surgery, you might see multiple small scars around your belly button. However, with single-incision laparoscopic gastric sleeve or bypass surgery, there may be just one scar within the belly button area.

Regardless of the surgical approach—be it a multi-port laparoscopic gastric sleeve or an open gastric bypass—the expertise of your surgeon and how well you stick to aftercare guidelines can greatly influence the healing process and visibility of scars.

Key Takeaway: Weight loss surgery scars vary depending on the procedure and technique used. Laparoscopic methods typically lead to multiple small, less noticeable scars, while open surgeries can leave a larger scar; regardless of the method—gastric sleeve or bypass—the surgeon’s skill and patient aftercare play key roles in healing.

Managing and Minimizing Weight Loss Surgery Scars

If you’re concerned about the visibility of your bariatric surgery scars, several strategies exist to help them fade. Understanding how to care for your incisions can significantly affect their appearance over time.

Tips for Minimizing Weight Loss Surgery Scars

Scarring is inevitable with any surgical procedure. However, certain steps can be taken after weight loss surgeries like gastric sleeve or bypass procedures to reduce scar visibility.

The first step is strictly following post-surgical aftercare instructions given by your surgeon. This typically involves keeping the incision clean and dry, which prevents infection and promotes optimal healing. Secondly, try not to pick at scabs that form, as this could lead to increased scarring or infection.

In addition to these general wound care practices, topical treatments have shown some effectiveness in minimizing scars’ prominence. Mederma, a gel made from onion extract often recommended by surgeons, has been known to soften hardened scar tissue while reducing redness and itchiness associated with healing wounds.

Vitamin E oil may also help improve skin elasticity around the wound area, helping it blend better with the surrounding skin once healed. Note: Always ask your doctor before applying anything on a fresh surgical site.

Keloids: An Unusual Healing Response

An aggressive healing response sometimes leads our body’s natural processes astray, raising lumpy areas called keloids. These aren’t harmful, but they might cause discomfort or cosmetic concerns if located on visible areas such as the belly button (a common place for laparoscopic gastric sleeve entry).

Avoiding Sun Exposure Helps Too.

Protecting scars from sun exposure is also crucial. The sun can darken the scar tissue, making it more noticeable. When outside, use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or cover-up.

Remember, everyone heals differently due to factors like age and skin type, but following these steps should lead you on the path of minimal scarring after your weight loss surgery.

Key Takeaway: Are you concerned about weight loss surgery scars? Follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions strictly, avoid picking at scabs, and use recommended topical treatments like Mederma or Vitamin E oil. Be mindful of unusual healing responses that could lead to keloids. Shield your scars from the sun to prevent darkening and remember – everyone heals differently.

Post-Surgical Aftercare for Weight Loss Surgery Scars

After undergoing a gastric bypass or sleeve procedure, the significance of post-surgical attention cannot be exaggerated. Proper care and attention to your incisions promote healing and play an essential role in minimizing scars.

Caring for Your Incision Immediately Post-Surgery

In the initial days following bariatric weight loss surgery, you must keep your incisions clean and dry. You’ll want to avoid strenuous activity that could stress the surgical site and delay the body’s natural healing process. Gentle cleansing with mild soap and water is often recommended during this period.

The wound dressings should be changed regularly according to your surgeon’s instructions—this helps protect against infection, which can lead to more prominent scarring.

Maintaining Healthy Skin Around The Scar Area

Your skin type will influence how well scars heal after laparoscopic bariatric surgery or open procedures. However, everyone benefits from moisturizing their skin as part of their post-surgical aftercare routine.

Vitamin E oil has been shown to be beneficial when applied directly on healed wounds—it promotes collagen production while maintaining elasticity in scar tissue.  (Source)

Avoiding Sun Exposure To Prevent Hyperpigmentation

If you’ve had single-incision laparoscopic gastric sleeve or multi-port laparoscopic surgeries resulting in small scars, it’s important to remember that scar tissue is more susceptible to sun damage. Sun exposure can darken the skin pigmentation around your scars, making them stand out.

So, for at least a year after surgery, apply a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher on the scarred area when exposed to sunlight.

Follow-Up and Regular Check-Ups

Finally, regular check-ups with your surgeon are key to keeping an eye on how well the incisions heal. If there’s any sign of keloids, they might recommend more treatments.

Key Takeaway: Proper post-surgery care is crucial for minimizing weight loss surgery scars. This includes keeping the incision clean and dry, avoiding strenuous activity, and regularly changing wound dressings. Also important are moisturizing skin around the scar area with vitamin E oil and protecting it from sun exposure to prevent hyperpigmentation. Lastly, never forget about your regular check-ups as they’re a vital part of the healing process.

Real Stories and Reviews of Weight Loss Surgery Scars

We’ve gathered a collection of personal experiences with weight loss surgery scars. These accounts provide an insight into what may be encountered after the procedure.

Success Stories and Challenges

Mary, a 45-year-old who had gastric bypass surgery, recounts her experience. “My scars are small, about the size of my pinky nail,” she says. The incisions healed well because Mary followed her doctor’s aftercare instructions diligently.

On the other hand, John had open gastric sleeve surgery at 52. He confesses his scar is more prominent than he expected but doesn’t regret it one bit because the benefits far outweigh this minor setback for him.

Jane’s experience was unique due to her skin pigmentation, leading to darker gastric sleeve scars even though they were small from laparoscopic bariatric surgery procedures. She took care not to apply any non-sterile products on them during the healing process, which helped minimize potential complications such as infection or keloid formation. Jane adds, “Despite having these marks, I am healthier now than ever before in my life.”

Belly Button Incision Tales

Amy opted for a single-incision laparoscopic gastric sleeve through the belly button, which resulted in practically invisible scarring. But maintaining cleanliness around the belly button was a crucial part of Amy’s post-surgical aftercare regime. “My surgeon told me keeping the area dry will promote better healing, so I ensured it was clean daily,” Amy recollects.

Youth vs Age – Healing Differences Revealed.

There’s a notable difference in healing times and scar appearances in comparison between younger patients like Lisa (26) and older ones like Mark (58). Lisa’s incisions healed quickly with almost negligible sleeve scars left behind. Mark, who had laparoscopic bariatric surgery too, experienced a slightly longer recovery time due to his age but was pleased that the small scars were easily concealed.

Everyone’s experience with weight loss surgery scars is different. Some folks view them as battle wounds, while others see them as meaningful symbols.

Key Takeaway: From personal stories, we learn that weight loss surgery scars vary greatly. Factors like the type of procedure, age, and aftercare practices play a big role. Some people have small scars they can easily hide while others may face more noticeable ones. But for most folks, the health benefits far outweigh these minor setbacks.

FAQs About Weight Loss Surgery Scars

Do weight loss surgery scars go away?

Weight loss surgery scars fade over time but don’t completely disappear. How much they lighten depends on your skin type and aftercare.

How big is the scar from bariatric surgery?

The size of a bariatric surgery scar varies based on the procedure. Laparoscopic surgeries leave small marks, while open procedures can result in an 8-10″ long scar.

How do you hide gastric sleeve scars?

You can camouflage gastric sleeve scars with makeup or clothing choices. Topical treatments and cosmetic procedures also help minimize their appearance.

What weight loss surgery has no scars?

No surgical procedure is entirely without scarring. But endoscopic methods like Suture Sculpt create fewer, smaller incisions resulting in less visible scarring than traditional methods.


  • Scars tell a story, and your weight loss surgery scars are no different. They’re badges of courage from your journey towards health.
  • From the initial formation to the natural healing process, these markers transform with time. Remember that every scar is unique – influenced by factors like age, skin type, surgical technique, or even genetics.
  • Laparoscopic bariatric surgeries such as gastric sleeve or bypass tend to leave smaller scars than open procedures. But regardless of size or visibility, care instructions can help in their evolution over time.
  • A range of strategies, from topical treatments to cosmetic procedures, exist for minimizing scarring appearance post-surgery. Because ultimately, you have the power!

You’ve come so far on this journey! Now, it’s about carrying that determination into aftercare and beyond – steering your body’s response towards subtle reminders rather than stark mementos. People come from all over to see Dr. Moein for a no-obligation personalized consultation in-person or virtually! Fill out the form on this page or call us from 8 am to 8 pm 7 days to get one of our limited appointments – 310-881-8260.

Dr. Babak Moeinolmolki
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