After Tummy Tuck Surgery What is the Best Scar Cream to Use to Reduce the Appearance of Long Incision?
Doctor Answers 5
Best Scar Management is important to minimize or completely hide from view, the tell tale signs of surgery – namely, scars. Both you and your surgeon want you to have the most minimal scarring possible from your surgery. Patients with scars that are enlarged or not healing well after surgery can be from many causes. 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 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”.
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 immediately 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. 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). At the present time I prefer BioCorneum or Kelo-Cote products and 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.
Scar care after tummy tuck
Pablo Prichard, MD
Melarase cream and pulsed dye laser for scars - Los Angeles
I have patients use Melarase cream for dark discoloration and treat with pulsed dye laser to reduce redness and scar thickness. Raffy Karamanoukian Los Angeles
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Post surgery care for scars
The evidence for scar creams is very poor and so I often don't recommend any post surgery scar creams to my patients. Best thing is to follow the surgeon's post operative instructions and to avoid any tension to the scar line. If after the area heals and you are not fully happy with the scar, there are a variety of options that can help improve the appearance of a scar such as dermabrasion, laser, steroid injections, etc etc.
Scar formation is a natural and unavoidable process in human healing. It can also go awry: hypertrophic scarring occurs when scars exceed the size of the original injury; keloid scarring occurs when a tumor-like growth begins at the location of injury. These pathobiological developments can be treated by a variety of means, including steroid injections and even radiation therapy. For more routine scars that are slightly raised or thickened, there are two treatments that have known efficacy: 1) Scar Massage & 2) Topical Silicone. Scar massage works by physically breaking down the scar tissue by repeated manual pressure. This should be performed as often as possible (i.e. 5-10 times per day. Topical silicone can take the form of silicone sheets or silicone ointment. When the ointment is used, this can be incorporated into the scar massage regimen. Silicone acts by a variety of means (e.g. temperature, charge) to reduce scar burden. My preference is to use Biocorneum cream: this incorporates SPF 30 sunblock with liquid silicone ointment. Sun avoidance is perhaps the most crucial factor in preventing untoward scar appearance, and it must be emphasized in any healing regimen.
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.