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 15

Paper tape after surgery

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Thank you for your question. Breast incisions can be managed using a multimodal approach:
1) Scar massage - starting as soon as the surgical dressings come off and the incisions are sealed
2) Silicone sheets or scar gels for about six months to year
3) Embrace - a tension reducing dressing for the first 2 months
4) Fractionated lasers to help blend the scar into the background - done as a series, starting about 4 weeks after surgery and repeated every four weeks for six months.
5) Sunscreen to prevent the scars from darkening

The main role for silicone sheets (or paper tape) is to keep the incisions hydrated during the remodelling phase of the scar maturation. This allows the underlying cells to work in a more optimized fashion. The brand is less important but compliance usually follows ease of use. Silicone usually has less skin irritation concerns with use compared to adhesives. They can also be re-used.

Timing of topical scar therapy

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Topical treatments to help prevent scarring are usually delayed until wounds are sealed and there are no openings or residual areas of scabbing. There are several different topical scar preventing methods available today. Make sure you discuss this with your surgeon to make sure that your treatment is appropriate for your particular situation.

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 133 reviews

Three Weeks

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When patients undergo cosmetic surgery they’re often concerned about scarring. A variety of treatment options have been developed to minimize adverse wound healing following these procedures.
The use of steri-strips and silicone sheets are popular for treating post-operative scars.These materials are typically applied to surgical wounds three weeks after surgery.This allows adequate time for small areas of breakdown to heal and wound edges to seal.Treatment lasts for variable periods of time but, in most cases, the duration is about three months.
These maneuvers are associated with excellent clinical results and high levels of patient satisfaction.At this point in time, it’s reasonable to use steri-strips as long as all your wounds are completely sealed.

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How soon after breast lift and a=tummy tuck can you put tape on incision?

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Hello! Thank you for your question! Discuss postoperative scar treatment with your surgeon.  If you were to use such modalities as taping/silicone, many would allow the use once healed and around 6-8 weeks postoperatively.  After any surgical procedure, you should be careful with incisions as well as avoidance of direct UVA and UVB rays in order to lessen the chance for hyperpigmentation of the skin and scars, which can take several months to resolve, if it ever does. Sunblock of 35 or above is recommended regardless. The ability of the affected area to heal has been slowed and you should try to avoid additional swelling to the area. The area will likely be numb for several weeks to months and will be difficult to feel when sunburn is coming on. 

Typical recommendations include wearing a hat and/or sunblock to the affected area for at least 6-12 weeks following the procedure. It takes up to one year for scars to fully mature. You should also avoid trauma to the area for several months to protect the refinements made during the procedure. Also, avoidance of pools/lakes/jacuzzis/etc for 4-6 weeks is usually recommended to allow adequate healing and protection from stagnant water, that could potentially harbor bacteria. Lifting/exercise restrictions are common for at least 6 weeks. Certainly discuss the postoperative instructions with your surgeon, as thoughts differ among surgeons. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

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

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 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

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.


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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.

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.

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.

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.