Background: In plastic surgery, the postoperative scar is a frequent concern. It is very important for the surgeon to understand the natural evolution of the scar. The abdominoplasty scar has a natural tendency to move upwards over time. In this study, the extent of natural vertical scar migration after abdominoplasty was calculated and the effect of fixing the lower abdominal flap to prevent this rise was assessed. Methods: This prospective and randomized study was conducted at the 38th Nursing service of Santa Casa de Misericórdia do Rio de Janeiro, during 2010, and included 20 female patients with an indication for abdominoplasty. The patients were randomly divided into two groups, A and B. Classical abdominoplasty was performed in group A patients, according to the technique recommended by Prof. Ivo Pitanguy. Patients in group B also underwent lower abdominal flap fixation by suturing of Scarpa's fascia and the rectus abdominis muscle aponeurosis. At both two weeks and six months after surgery, the distance of vertical scar movement was measured in 16 patients after application of exclusion criteria. The average vertical migration and the mean difference between the groups were calculated. Results: The average difference between the groups in vertical migration throughout the scar was 0.4 cm, with a mean overall migration of 1.06 cm and 0.68 cm in groups A (control group) and B (cases with fixation), respectively. Conclusions: The scar formed after abdominoplasty undergoes vertical migration over time; this migration is decreased when the lower abdominal flap is fixed. The surgeon should be aware of scar migration for better planning of the incision location.
Keywords: Abdomen/surgery. Cicatrix. Surgical flaps.