30 Sep My Open Myomectomy Scar
“How bad is the scar?”
That is the number one question I get from women that are considering an open myomectomy to remove their fibroids.
Usually the question is preceded with some variation of “I know this is vain” or “I hope you don’t think this is a silly question.” For some reason, we feel guilty about caring about how our bodies are going to look, and we convince ourselves that it’s too superficial to worry about, even though every single one of us does! Now let me be clear, there’s a long list of reasons why you should (or shouldn’t) have the surgery. I am not suggesting that a woman should make the decision about an open myomectomy solely based on the fact that there will be a scar. There are many factors that should be taken into consideration, like your overall health and future reproductive goals; however, let’s be real, nobody (at least nobody I know) is going to be cool with a new scar right in the middle of their body.
It’s unfair to your own emotional processing of this surgical experience to simply reduce this part of the process to vanity. It’s unreasonable to think that a woman (or anyone for that matter) would be totally unaffected by an unwanted alteration to her physical appearance. Is it vain? Maybe. (Ok, ok, of course it is!) But who cares? The reality is, it’s YOUR body, and you’re the one who has to live and be comfortable in it! I’m not here to argue whether or not that’s right or wrong. I’m not here to convince you that what’s on the inside matters more than what’s on the outside. I’m simply here to say, that it’s not silly to be concerned about it. It’s human, and you’re entitled to those feelings.
I certainly worried about it myself. As a matter of fact, it was one of the first questions I asked my gynecologist when I realized she’d have to make an incision to my belly. A million thoughts ran through my mind:
- “How big will it be and will it fade?”
- “How will I look naked, will I feel confident in a swimsuit?”
And probably the most daunting question of all:
- “Will my man think it’s a turn off?”
Trust me, I thought of every possible question, and worried about every possible outcome. When you couple that with the overall stress of the surgery itself, I was a hot mess. However, my doctor reassured me that my questions were typical ones, which made me feel less guilty about being so focused on the “superficial” portion of the process.
As she calmed me down, she began to answer my questions:
- How Big Will It Be?
She explained that because I was having an open myomectomy (rather than a laparoscopic/robotic) she would make an open abdominal incision to access my uterus and remove the fibroids. The incision would be about 3 inches long, low, and horizontal at my bikini line. Some open myomectomies require vertical incisions due to the size of the fibroids and patient’s uterus.
- Will It Fade?
Yes. Like any other scar, it is reasonable to expect that the scar will naturally fade over time. Many people try additional methods to speed up the process (like using topical steroids, massaging the site, or using Mederma). These treatments may help minimize scar formation, however, the more important factors seem to be the patient’s own genetic makeup and race, as well as the type and size of sutures used for closure. If you naturally have skin that keloids or doesn’t recover well from scarring, make sure you have those conversations with your doctor prior to surgery to come up with the best solution for you. For me, I just use cocoa butter oil to gently massage the scar each night before bed, and so far I’m pleased with the results.
- How will I look naked? Will I feel confident in a swimsuit?
The truth is, the scar is noticeable when I’m naked. When I look in the mirror and look right above my pelvic area, the scar from the open myomectomy has certainly left its mark. It’s a darker pigment of brown, raised above the flesh around it, and spans about 3-4 inches in length on my bikini line. However, the scar is NOTHING like what I imagined it would be when I was stressing over it prior to the surgery. I envisioned the scar being like a broken fender on an otherwise new car. Still able to operate, but lowering the value nonetheless. However, when I look at my scar, it doesn’t feel like the eye soar I expected, and I definitely don’t feel like my body has lost any value. As far as wearing a swimsuit, as you can see from the picture, the scar is so low, I can comfortably wear a two piece and nobody would ever get a glimpse of it.
- Will My Man Think It’s A Turnoff?
I guess he’s the only person that could really answer this question, and he does every time he kisses my belly and tells me that it’s beautiful. He reaffirms that when he helps me rub cocoa butter oil on it, or gently massages the incision and refers to it as “our scar.” Looking back, it’s ridiculous that this was ever a concern I had to begin with–but our worries and anxiety are rarely ever rational, which is why we can’t get too wrapped up in them.
So, long story short, if you’re worried about your scar, it’s okay! Don’t beat yourself up about it, chances are what you’re imagining is far worse than what will really occur. The most important thing is that you get healthy and take care of the tumors that don’t belong in your body. This process isn’t an easy one, and the fact that you’re able to go through it just highlights your strength. Focus on getting your body well first, and then all other things (including your scar) secondary. Besides, scars are just physical evidence that you have survived something!