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SURGERY SCAR

corey50
Posts: 73
Joined: Feb 2009

hi everyone,
thank you all for posting on this board, i was diagnosed back in nov. 08 and have been on the board many times for information and reassurances.
i had a radical nephrectomy (of my left kidney) done laparoscopically on 12/12/08. i have one bigger incision vertical next to my belly button and two smaller ones lower down on the left side. my question is: what should my larger scar look like now at almost 3 months. mine is dark in color almost looks bruised and the scar looks wider than it did when i first had the surgery. no pain or anything and everything seems fine, just wondering how it's supposed to look.
thanks again for any input.
good health to us all and God Bless
corey

wordnerd
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2009

Corey,

I am only 5 weeks out from my radical nephrectomy, so I can't speak to what it should look like 3 months out. Perhaps someone else can post on that. In the meantime, have you tried using vitamin E oil on the scars? I heard from tons of people that this helps their appearance tremendously, so I started applying it as soon as it was safe to do so. I received my bottles as gifts, but I know Whole Foods carries some and I would think vitamin stores and some pharmacies would have it. I was also told that mashing the scars would diminish their appearance. I would research that a bit before doing it. However, some friends have tried it, said it hurt like crazy, but did help to diminish the scars.

Any chance you could talk to your surgeon about them?

God bless you as well!

corey50
Posts: 73
Joined: Feb 2009

hi wordnerd,
thanks for the advice.
i have tried vitamin E. i don't know what mashing? is though.
i had breast cancer 3 1/2 yrs. ago and still see my oncologist on a regular basis. i have an appt. with him this week and will ask him what he thinks of the scar appearance.
if not i'll call my surgeon's office for their thoughts.
thanks again and hope you're feeling well after your surgery. did you have laparoscopic or open?
take care and God Bless

wordnerd
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2009

Mashing would be kind of a harsh massaging of the scar with your fingertips. I did a quick Google search and didn't find anything on it. I'll keep looking and let you know if I find anything. I'd love to know what your oncologist says, if anything.

I had laparoscopic surgery. Still a couple weeks before I head back to work, but I'm feeling pretty good--ten times better than last week, thankfully. I'm grateful for the time I've had to recover before I return to work.

I wish you continued healing and good health!

corey50
Posts: 73
Joined: Feb 2009

wordnerd, thanks for the info on mashing. sounds different.
about 4-5 weeks after my surgery i started having alot of discomfort. alot. i wouldn't call it pain but it definitely hurt and was very sore. my surgical sight. and i had been feeling good up until then, so i just took it as a sign that i was doing too much too soon and started babying myself. i really took it easy for about 2 weeks and it got much better and then went away. i called the dr. of course and they said it sounded like normal healing. they actually do alot in there. you said you felt 10 times better than last week, i wonder if you had the same thing. either way, i'm glad you're feeling better. take care of yourself. we deserve to baby ourselves. haha
continued good health and healing

paulette7317
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2009

I had a partial nephrectomy for a tumor in my right kidney in April 2008. This is the second scar from surgery that didn't show up as large and/or noticeable in my case. My incision was along my waist and it's not that bad.

I've been told my surgeons that it depends on the part of the body that is cut. I've had surgery on both thighs (tendon repair) and my scars are keloids (worm looking raised skin) in the case of both legs. I am a female who delivered a child by C-section and only have a tiny scar from that surgery. So in my case it really did depend on where my surgery was performed what kind of scar resulted. It is my experience that my scars look the same today as they did after the first three months post surgery.

corey50
Posts: 73
Joined: Feb 2009

thank you both for the information. i'll let you know what my oncologist says when he sees my scar.
paulette7317, that's exactly what my scar looks like a keloid, worm looking raised skin. thanks for the description.
i only have one other surgical scar, from my breast lumpectomy, and that was always very flat and thin, now after 3 1/2 years its almost faded. i'll feel bad if this nephrectomy scar stays the way it looks now because its pretty dark. but honestly if everything else is good, i'll take the scar. i wasn't wearing bikinis anyway. haha
take care and good health to all

donna_lee's picture
donna_lee
Posts: 391
Joined: Feb 2009

My first surgery in 2006 was 14 inches from below the navel to under right arm -radical nephrectomy, partial hepatactomy (1/2 of liver), cholecystectomy (gall bladder) and lymphadenectomy. Closure was with staples, removed at 2 weeks, then steri-strips. It healed well, and today it is a faint pinkish line. Second surgery in 2007-lymphadenectomy, below navel and along the same line for 8", was closed with dissolving sutures. Pale pink line by 2-3 months that has continued to get fainter. 2008-another lymphadenectomy from pubic bone to 2" above navel, closed with staples -then steri-strips. It pulled apart below the navel for about an inch (from coughing) and took about 2 months to totally heal and get rid of scab. Had the Dr. check it and he said to just leave it alone and it would take time. I have a depressed line (kind of like a mini butt in the front)that is still dark pink. But what the hey, I'm alive and if I feel like wearing a 2 piece suit on the beach, I do.

Depending on your skin type and color plus age will be big in how long your scar takes to heal and fade. And areas that are affected by gravity and/or twisting will tend to pull the incision apart. Any good moisturizer-Eucerin is good and may help. It just depends on what you like the feel of on your skin and what will be absorbed.

Good lunk on your continued recovery.
donna_lee

corey50
Posts: 73
Joined: Feb 2009

hi donna lee, thanks for your post. i saw my oncologist yesterday and he said it looks like a keloid, not the kind that get really big and spread, mine is just raised and dark in color. he said the color depends on your skin tone and will fade with time.
i think you're right in that where on the body it is makes a difference because being on my abdomen it gets all the twisting and turing.
i agree that if thats the worst i have to deal with it i'll take it any day.
you sound like you've been thru a lot and that you're a trooper. hope everything is going well now. and i'd like to wish you good health in the future.
take care and God Bless us all

mbates09
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2009

I am one year and three months post radical nephrectomy (January 17, 2008). The scar goes from my belly button straight across to the middle of my right side. The scar has times when it looks very white and minimal, but there are times, especially in the evening, when there is a reddish look that comes to it again. It was closed with staples so it is essentially a white "line", but I have a wider section about 2" long about 1" in from the left edge that is probably from coughing after the surgery (they made me do it to prevent pneumonia) but I am pain free, able to move completely and without recurrence so I see this scar as a badge of victory over a very frightening time in my life!

onyxgirl
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2009

I had a laporascopic radical nephrectomy 1 yr. and 9 months ago. I had several port incisions as well as the longer one, which is about 2 in. long where they pulled the kidney out. I have a keloid scar there, which reminds me of a caterpillar. It is raised, red, and it hurts. Along with this scar, I have an indentation which the doctor said I got because my stomach muscles were so tight from working out that when he sutured the area, it pulled inward. I am very self conscious of this. I saw a plastic surgeon a few months ago to see about repairing the area. He told me that I would have to be put under, and he would release the keloid and cut it out. He would then have to use cadaver muscle to build the area back up. The bad thing is that when he submitted it to my insurance co., they said I couldn't have it done because it is "cosmetic." I am fighting them now. Since when is post cancer reconstructive surgery cosmetic? I am 39, F, and having a hard time with this.

corey50
Posts: 73
Joined: Feb 2009

onyxgirl, thanks for the reply. sounds like we had the same surgery.
sorry about the problem with your abdomen muscle not being sewn up properly. is this something that will reverse itself with time? the reconstruction surgery sounds like alot and you never know how those things will turn out. but i don't blame you for being upset. if you were working out you'd want to show off your abs. maybe its not as bad as you see it, i know we tend to focus on how bad something looks when other people don't even notice.
hoping you the best in the future.

wordnerd
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2009

Onyxgirl, I am 31, F, and also struggling. I appreciate you sharing your struggle. I feel a bit ridiculous because I came through what could have been a horrifying experience with comparatively little damage. And yet I feel a need to mourn the body I once had and figure out what to do to get as much of it back as possible. I was a dancer for 20 years, had solid abs and a super cute belly button. My clothes in general are professional but tend to show off my figure. But now I struggle with two things.

First, I go back to work in less than a week (my surgery was 6 weeks ago). I am afraid of my clothes. I have a lump below my belly button and to the right. Simply wearing tighter t-shirts looks silly with this lopsided bump showing itself. I've always felt confident about my appearance and have worked hard to keep my figure. I am having a hard time facing the clothing I will have to wear again soon.

Second, summer is approaching. I now, as I have never before, dread the swimsuit season. My belly button is deformed, I have a lopsided lump, a 3-inch serpentine scar around my belly button, and 4 smaller scars from the port incisions--one of which looks like a cigarette burn because it tore and got infected. I can hide the scars behind a one-piece but the lump will loom large.

I know I'm lucky to have gotten the horrible cancer out of my body when I did. My tumor had grown to be 10 x 8 x 10 cm and was threatening to invade my liver and gallbladder as it pressed against them. It's out. I got to keep the whole of all of my other organs. I am very lucky. I celebrate the victory. And yet I mourn. And for the mourning I feel ungrateful and childish and vain.

I wish you the best, Onyxgirl. I do hope that you can have again what you worked hard to achieve in the first place without undue risk (to yourself or to your pocketbook!).

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