I am 5 weeks postop and my original surgical tape is still attached? My ps said to allow it to come off naturally. Should I start taking it off? Should I replace it?
5 Week Postop Tummy Tuck and Surgical Tape is Still Attached?
Doctor Answers (4)
How to improve scars? Your surgeon's advice is best to follow!
Surgical tapes, clear adhesive Tegaderms, Steri-strips, etc. are all ways plastic surgeons try to help support and reduce tension on healing scars as they mature and fade. The best scars are found after precise closure, minimal wound tension, absence of infection or inflammation, avoidance of ultraviolet exposure, in some areas of the body as opposed to others, but mainly in genetically-blessed individuals!
Silicone scar pads are often advised after surgical tapes/dressings are removed, and most surgeons feel they work to inhibit excessive scar formation by contact inhibition, moisture retention (another inhibitor of excessive collagen formation), and warmth retention (which increases collagenase enzyme scar breakdown more than collagen scar formation).
Surgical tape(s), regardless of their type as long as they do not CAUSE irritation or inflammation (which is why you are advised to not change them), are often called the "poor man's scar pads" as they seem to work just about as well as silicone scar pads. BTW, scar pads do not have any "medicine" or special scar inhibitors within them; they work by the mechanisms noted above, and can be reused indefinitely as long as they are clean and non-irritating.
Bottom line here: if your scar turns out badly, it will be your plastic surgeon you will go to and complain (and perhaps ask for improvement), so it behooves you to follow his/her advice so it is not that reason your result is unsatisfactory. Your surgeon presumably does things for a reason! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen
Surgical tape 5 weeks after surgery
Please followup with your plastic surgeon. 5 weeks seems a long time for steri-strips to be still stuck on. Aslong as there is no drainage coming from your bandages, you should be fine. Wishing you a speedy recovery.
Leave the tape
I also have my patients keep tape over the scars for a minimum of 6 weeks after any surgery. If the scars are kept from drying out by the tape, the scarring will be minimized. Any tape that is well tolerated by the skin will work. After the tape is removed, you will need to keep the scars well lubricated to further improve the scars. In my experience, Mederma is not very good. Aloe and cocoa butter would be a bare minimum (and seems to work better than Mederma). There are other products that also work well such as Bio-Oil, Rejevana, and ScarGuard. Silicone sheeting over the scars will also help.
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Tapes are Okay!
It is fine to have the surgical tapes after even 5-6 weeks. If the tapes and skin do not seem moist or have any discharge, leave them in place. I typically like to have the patients remove the tapes, if they are still in place, at 6 weeks so we can start using our scar creams on the incisions.