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How Soon After Surgery Can I Start Scar Treatment?

I'm 17 days post op from. TT and BA. I Want to start using silicone sheeting I'm my.TT scar. How soon can I start? I did not have steri strips. My PS used stitches. I'm not doing anything with the scar except cleaning and putting ointment on it.

Doctor Answers 27

Scar care after tummy tuck

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 37 reviews

How Soon After Surgery Can I Start Scar Treatment?

I rarely recommend scar treatments to my patients.

There is little or no evidence that they work.

The various silicone products may slightly speed up scar maturation but I don't believe they are worth the time or expense in most cases.

They serve mainly to give people something to do while Mother Nature goes about her work. She takes at least a year and, depending on the skin type, two years or more to produce the final scar result.

The only exceptions would be in those patients who have a history of abnormal scarring, or in those where the scars are still thicker or redder than they should be for that stage of healing. In these cases modalities such as silicone sheeting or laser may be appropriate.

Eric Pugash, MD
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

How Soon After Surgery Can I Start Scar Treatment?

As soon as your wound is no longer having any drainage you may start using topical scar creams as well as silastic sheeting. Watch out for any signs of skin maceration that may be caused by excess moisture under the silastic. Good luck!

Mark Preston, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Tummy tuck scar treatment options

all wounds go through several stages of healing. There is no benefit of apply any "scar treatments" until after scars start to contract which is about 4 weeks. until then it is best to keep the skin well hydrated and moisterized.

S. Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Timing of scar treatment after TT.

If I have a concern that a patient of mine may get an active, raised scar after TT or Breast augmentation, I will start using silicone sheeting early, at about 5-7 days, after surgery.  The wound only needs to be closed for the sheeting to be placed on.  There is little downside to this besides some minor skin irritation from increased moisture beneath the sheeting.


Ask your plastic surgeon for specific advice, but in general I have my patients use scar treatments the day after sutures are removed. Regarding #SiliconeSheetingForScars and other options, here are some options to consider. Best Scar Management is important to minimize or completely hide from view, the telltale signs of your surgery—namely, scars. Both you and your surgeon want you to have the most minimal scarring possible. There are many possible causes for scars that are enlarged or not healing well. Unsightly scars are most commonly due to genetics, underlying medical conditions, or improper scar/wound care. The last part is very important and patients can make a noticeable difference in their scars’ appearance by following best scar management practices. Here are some simple tips.
Scar Management tips:
  1. Minimize tension on the scar. Steri-Strips and/or surgical tape are often placed in non-hair bearing areas at the time of surgery to minimize tension and keep pressure over the scar. This minimizes the stress that can pull the scar apart (dehiscence) creating a wound and delaying healing time, and can make the scar wider, or more “ropy”. In the first few weeks after surgery, I recommend the use of Embrace Scar Therapy which is an adherent silicone sheeting pre-stretched when applied so as to offload tension on the scar.
  2. Keep your incision site/scar clean to prevent infection. Follow your surgeon’s wound care instructions to the letter with out modification. Never apply different products then recommended without first discussing them with your surgeon. This is especially important during the first few weeks. If there are any signs of infection, contact your surgeon’s office right away and/or see your doctor or his nurse immediately. Typical signs of infection may include redness outside the immediate incision site, asymmetric swelling, and drainage, of pus, fever, chills, and “feeling sick”.
  3. Protect your scars from the sun. Staying out of the sun is the best advice. Minimal exposure to sunlight is prevents hyperpigmentation (permanently turning brown) and other problems that can make the scar more noticeable. Sunscreen, at least 30 SPF and an overlying make camouflage make up additionally protects the scar from the suns harmful rays. This advice is especially important the first year following your surgery.
  4. Use specific scar maturation products recommended by your surgeon. Patients seem to have their own opinions on this touting everything from Pure Vit E, Coco butter, to Aloe Vera, etc but most have minimal benefit other than keeping the scar hydrated. Although hydration is important there are better, scientifically studied products with greater efficacy. Most of the scientific articles written about this subject indicate that topical silicone gel or silicone sheets work the best. The best product available in my opinion is the Embrace Scar Therapy System by Neodyne BioSciences, Inc. available in many surgeons’ offices. Essentially this is an adherent silicone sheeting pre-stretched when applied so as to offload tension on the scar. For areas that are not applicable for this product (e.g. smaller areas or on the face), I prefer BioCorneum or Kelo-Cote products There are a lot of products to choose from, but silicone should be one of the key ingredients. Although Mederma, an onion extract derivative active ingredient rather than mainly silicone based may help, primarily silicone based products are better and many also contain other ingredients that may be synergistic (hydrocortisone or other steroid, Vitamin E, Sunscreen, etc).. If the reader has problems obtaining these they can call my office. Patient compliance is also critical – use often and according to directions or it will not work optimally. NEVER apply products without first discussing them with your surgeon.
  5. Monitor to make sure your scar is progressing optimally. Keep your scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon to verify that your scars are maturing as expected. Occasionally if indicated you may need a topical steroid preparation or even a series of injections (5-FU and/or Steroids) or laser treatments to treat or prevent scar hypertrophy or keloid formation (red raised scars), or other topical medicines to treat post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (brown scars) with prescription creams and possible laser treatments.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Scar management after tummy tuck

Scar minimization should be part of any plastic surgery procedure, and should be discussed before the surgery.  The key step in minimizing scars after tummy tuck is the performance of the procedure to reduce tension on the skin closure.  Substituting wound closure tapes at the end of the procedure, or at the first office visit, for skin sutures can help.  For patients who tend to form noticeable scars even from minor injuries, the early use of occlusion (such as silicone gel sheeting, or gel topicals) and tension-reducing taping will usually help as well. Discuss these options with your doctor.

Stephen Kay, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Scar therapy after tummy tuck

Recommendations vary by surgeon. In general I have my patients begin scar therapy around 3 weeks postop. 

Bryan Correa, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Scar care following breast and body surgery

Thanks for your question.  Scars - whether created surgically or acquired through trauma - go through a maturation process that begins during the initial healing of the wound itself, typically takes up to a full year or more to complete.  During this time, we have some control over the quality of the final appearance of the scar. This begins with meticulous incision closure by the surgeon, followed by keeping tension off the healing wound and maturing scar, with steri-strips or tape, in addition to a bra or abdominal binder.  Studies have also demonstrated the utility of silicone (in the form of scar sheets or gel) and scar massage in the first several months after healing, to flatten and smooth the scar.  Finally, protection of the maturing scar from the sun, with SPF 30 or greater sunscreen or direct covering, keeps the scar from pigmenting or darkening relative to the surrounding skin.  I have my patients begin the use of silicone scar sheets and massage as soon as the initial healing phase is complete - usually at around 2 weeks post-op.

Joshua D. Zuckerman, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Now might be okay, but ask your surgeon

If your incision line is closed and a fresh scar has formed over it, then you can start using the sheets. To be sure, though, you should ask your surgeon.

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.