I have consulted several doctors regarding a Tummy Tuck. Of the two, I am leaning towards one who uses steri-strips on the outer most layer of skin. The other uses traditional sutures. Which is better for healing and for creating a clean (i.e. narrow and straight) scar?
Steri-strips Vs Traditional Sutures for Tummy Tuck?
Doctor Answers (9)
Closure techniques for tummy tucks
Steri strips are to assist the skin in knitting with dissolvable sutures underneath. External sutures or staples are also used by some and as long as they are removed before 5 days after surgery, they won't leave railroad track marks.
There are many ways to close a tummy tuck and each doctor has their preference. I wouldn't use it as a deciding point between doctors as long as neither leaves track marks along the incision.
Steristrips vs sutures
This is a technical matter and not the sole basis to decide who does your operation. If you have friends who have used the doctor and are happy that would be a start. Are both board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. How many does each one perform a year and do you like the results from their pre and post op pictures. You may also want to speak to a patient and ask the doctor if one can call you. I think these are more important than steristrips versus sutures.
Steven Schuster MD FACS
No skin sutures for Tummy Tuck
I have not used steri strips for tummy tuck or body lift procedures for the past 4-5 years. Sure, sutures are placed deep below the skin. But I prefer to utilize a FDA approved skin glue (Dermabond) to seal the skin edges. The advantage is that my patients can shower the next morning. There are no bloody or bulky dressings. The glue seals the incision to the external environment and facilitates healing. The sealant (glue) peels off in 14-21 days. The use of this tissue glue has eliminated steri-strip induced problems such as blistering. Ask your surgeon if this is an option for your case.
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Both steri strips and traditional sutures work fine for Tummy Tuck
I personally always use internal dissolving sutures with steristrips but this is a matter of the surgeon's preference and you can get an excellent result with either method.
This is no way to decide upon which surgeon you should have. Choose the one that you have the best rapport and who is a board certified plastic surgeon.
Closing the Skin After Tummy Tuck
And now, for yet another technique to the many you have heard about already !
...my experience with Steri Strips is that they collect blood and scabs beneath them, and get "gunky" and sometimes actually prevent patients from cleaning their incision properly.
So my preference is to use a skin glue to seal the incision. I let my patients bathe right away and they can shower twice a day. The glue offers some strength as well. As already pointed out, though, its the deeper layers of internal sutures that really hold you together.
Steri-strips and sutures.
This is not a good way to pick a tummy tuck surgeon. There are several different ways to close wounds, and they can all leave you with fine scars. Why don't you ask them to show you lots of before and after pictures?
Steri-strips vs traditional Tummy Tuck sutures
Each one of us has, over the years, evolved "THE BEST WAY' to close wounds. Obviously, what I am about to expound on is God's truth and the rest of my colleagues do not know what they are talking about. (I AM JOKING!).
By nature Plastic surgeons are constantly probing, trying and tinkering to find the Holy Grail of THE BEST scar. As you can see from the multiple responses, we have each evolved his/her own way and philosophy.
In MY opinion, I think any external sutures DO leave marks and in MY opinion are the mark of a surgeon who MAY be more concerned with speed than the ultimate cosmetic results which bears his/her name. The best scars result from the use of a closure where the outer skin is under little to no tension. Where the incision is closed in several layers of stitches with the DEEP layer, which is responsible for handling any tension, involves either permanent or long lasting dissolving sutures. Where the intermediate and superficial sutures involve dissolving sutures.
Steri-strips are acceptable - but I stopped using them years ago because in some patients they cause blisters which could scar poorly. I prefer a more expensive alternative using DERMABOND a surgical glue which seals the scar - this means no dressings are needed (no oozing) and you can shower the next day without the "big production" of changing dressings.
If your choice was between the two - I would definitely go with the "steri-stripper".
As regards the "narrow and straight scar" - Each experienced surgeon SHOULD BE able to produce it IF HE/SHE took the time to do it properly.
My advice pick the MOST obsessive, perfectionist, detail oriented Plastic surgeon you can find WHO YOU LIKE - you cannot go wrong.
Steri-Strips for Tummy Tuck Closure
I, too, would lean toward the one who uses Steri-Strips. This is because he/she is only reinforcing the wound with the strips. The basic strength of the closure is with sutures below the surface. These will continue to provide support, even after the Steri-Strips are gone. If the outer layer of sutures is on the surface, it has to be removed within a week, and, thus, there is no support left. This is not the whole story, however. The important thing to know is what kinds of sutures are used below the skin. Some dissolve very quickly. Others last until the scar is strong enough to resist spreading (3-6 months). The easiest way of telling, however, is to look at pictures of the scars at a year. The longer lasting sutures in multiple layers tend to provide the thinnest, best scars.
Sutures used in Tummy Tuck
Most plastic surgeons use a dissolving suture with SteriStrips reinforcing the closure. Most of us feel that this produces a better scar than we see with use of cutaneous stitches in TT. The dissolving suture is placed just beneath the skin. Some surgeons may obtain good results with skin stitches, but there is a risk of forming "railroad track-like" scars.
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.