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I Am 12 Days Post-op. My Incision Has Begun to Itch Like Crazy. Is It Safe to Apply Anything?

I Am 12 Days Post-op from tummy tuck with muscle repair on 2/6/12.  My Incision Has Begun to Itch Like Crazy.  Is It Safe to Apply Anything?

Doctor Answers (8)

Scar care after tummy tuck

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Thank you for your post. In tummy tuck and other lift/tightening surgeries, tension is the enemy. The scar is healing gradually over 12 weeks or so, and until it is strong, it is the weakest link. As there is a great deal of tension in tummy tucks, body lifts, breast lifts, etc., the scar is at high risk of 'stretching' or widening. Silicone sheeting, although having the ability to make a scar flat, does nothing to prevent stretching of the scar. Creams or steroids or lasers also do not have the ability to prevent stretching of the scar. Those are used if scar is thick or dark, but not to reduce the wideness of the scar, which is the main problem. Massage also does not help keep the scar thin, and can actually worsen the scar in the first 12 weeks because you are actually adding tension to the scar. Massage is for softening a hard or thick scar, but if used early, will hasten the scar widening. Only tension reduction has the ability to keep the scar as thin as possible. You may notice in a lot of tummy tuck scars that the center portion of the scar is the widest with the sides toward the hips being the thinnest. This is because the maximum tension is at the center, and least amount on the sides. Embrace removes a lot of the tension by putting more tension on the skin on either side of the incision and drawing the incision together. It is expensive though at about $100 per week for 12 weeks. When patients do not want to spend the money for embrace, I tape the incision trying to remove as much tension as possible for 12 weeks and recommend no stretching back and to sit most of the time, keeping tension off the scar.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD


Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Itchiness After Tummy Tuck

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When the steri-strips have begun to curl at their edges they can be safely removed. At this point you will no longer need to cover your incisions with dressings and can begin to administer scar reducing products and creams. Please ask your surgeon what would be best to apply.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Itching along a scar may be a fungal infection

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For my patients, I recommend benedryl cream for any itching.  However, make sure you don't have a rash that needs an antifungal cream.  Give your plastic surgeon a call and find out if he/she wants to see you to make sure that your incision is okay.

Jeffrey E. Schreiber, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

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Itching incision after tummy tuck.

+1

Thanks for your question.

I would recommend you check in with your plastic surgeon. Itching can be quite normal and can sometimes be a side effect of Narcotics for pain relief.  Your surgeon may be able to recommend a medication to help, but will also want to be sure there are no problems.

At 12 days I woluld let your surgeon decide if you are to put anything on the incisions.

Best of luck.

 

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Incision itching after surgery

+1

As long as your incision looks normal it's likely that your itching is a normal part of the healing process. Try some benadryl and check in with your plastic surgeon to see if they reccomend anything else. The good news is that itching typically goes away on it's own. Cheers, Dr Kerr

Mahlon Kerr, MD, FACS
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Tummy Tuck and “Itchy” Incision?

+1

Thank you for the question.

Always best to be examined by your plastic surgeon to rule out complications such as hypersensitivity... that may be responsible for the itching.  After examination, your plastic surgeon may be able to advise oral or topical medication to help.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 708 reviews

My Incision Itches!!

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It is normal to have an itching sensation after surgery. However, it is too early to apply any topical treatment to this fresh incision. You should consult with your surgeon about the use of oral benadryl to help with the itching. Good luck.

 

Douglas L. Gervais, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

There are some options

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Mild itching along a surgical incision is very common, due to the release of histamine from one of the wound-healing cells.  Severe itching could be indicative of a reaction to the dressing (steri-strips, Dermabond, tape).  With this type of reaction, besides itching, one often sees localized redness and/or blistering.

 

If it is the usual type of itching, and it is interfering with activity or sleep, you could try Benadryl - oral at night. lotion during the day.  A mild steroid cream is also often helpful.  If it appears to be an allergic type reaction, you need to remove any dressings (after first consulting your plastic surgeon).  Then I would recommend antibiotic ointment to any open or blistered areas and steroid cream to the reddened but closed areas.  You may also want to ask your plastic surgeon about a Medrol dose pack.

 

You should talk to your plastic surgeon before doing any of the above, and you may need to come in for examination before any treatment begins.

Robert Stroup, Jr., MD, FACS
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.