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How Soon After Breast Lift and Tummy Tuck Can You Put Paper Tape on Incision?

I had breast lift with plants umder muscle and strattice along with a tummy tuck early Feb 2013. When can I begin scar treatment with paper tape and how lomg between changes.

Doctor Answers (11)

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 27 reviews

Paper Tape after Breast Lift

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  I do not tape the incisions, but many patients use silicone sheeting or some variation on their scars after 4 to 6 weeks.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 203 reviews

Timing of Scar Treatment after Mommy Makeover Surgery?

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There are a variety of reasonable ways to manage incision line healing after mommy makeover surgery. In my practice, if at all possible, I like to use paper tape ( steri strips) for approximately 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure has been performed. The use of silicone-based products (gel or sheeting) may also be helpful.

 Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 722 reviews

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Scarring

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I understand the previous answers and your wanting to minimize scarring, but honestly there is not much you can do. Yes, taping an incision may taken some tension off the skin, but minimal at best. If the incision is closed well, then the deep layers have tension, but not the skin itself. If you start to get thicker scars at 6-8 weeks, then applying some type of topical silicone may help.

Good luck.

Gregory Sexton, MD
Columbia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Paper Tape on Incision

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Once incisions are dry and no longer have any oozing or raw surface, it is assumed the skin is sealed and then you may put tape. Also you may begin applying scar improvement treatments such as scar-guard, mederma, silicone sheeting or silicone ointments at this time. There are many reported ways to treat the scar after these operations. They all seem to work. Tape should be of the paper tape variety as other tapes cause allergies with their adhesives.

Mel T. Ortega, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Paper tape protocol

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I was reading some of the other doctors replies, and I have similar protocol but not exactly.  The point is, there are many ways to skin a cat, and as long as they are reasonable, nobody is wrong.

What I do is I place steri strps on at time of surgery.  I change them weekly for a total of 4 weeks.  After that, I start a scar cream treatment (Mederma or a silicone containing cream depending on the scar), until the scar matures.  As things heal, I may change creams.  It is important to keep wounds out of the sun until they are no longer red.

My rational for taping is that the wounds are the weakest at about 3 weeks or so, and people usually are anxious to get the tapes off.

Scott E. Kasden, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Ask your surgeon about scar care

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I personally believe that taping helps prevent adverse scarring because it minimizes tension on the area. However, my protocol is to have steri strips on at the time of surgery, followed by taping for about 6 weeks. Your own surgeon is in the best position to advise you on how to take care of your scars.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Proactive scar care to improve wound healing - what really works

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There will always be some degree of disagreement among plastic surgeons on how to decrease scarring after any surgical procedure.  I find that patients like to be proactive and I believe there are two proven methods to reduce scarring after surgery. The first is to keep some of the early tension off of the scar.  This is done with paper tape.  I like to keep the incision taped for the first three weeks.  After three weeks some type of silicone dressing has been proven to be benificial.  You can either use silicone gel sheets or a product like scar guard, which is a paint type product that you place on the scar at night from the end of the third week to the end of the third month.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Paper tape for scars after tummy tuck

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By one month after surgery you should be safe to start any scar reduction program such as silicone sheeting (one of the best methods), and products such as Mederma. Some try paper tape, but we find it of little help.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Paper tape has no effect on scar out.

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If you want to put paper tape on your incision, check your plastic surgeon first. Since it has no effect on outcome of the scar it is a futile gesture.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 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.