Best Scar Treatment After Full Tummy Tuck?

Prescription or non-prescription. I want to be sure to do the right thing to ensure my scars heal properly and are less noticeable. What's best in your professional opinion? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 23

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 also do not have the ability to prevent stretching of the scar. 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
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

BestTummy Tuck Scar Treatment-1540 Fractional Erbium laser

Thank you for your question. Massage and a topical cream like Scar Guard can help improve the Tummy Tuck Scar.

However if the Full Tummy Tuck scar becomes red, irritated or lumpy, Laser Treatments using the 1540 Fractional Non ablative Laser can be very helpful. See link below.

Scar Management

Your scar can be lowered so it is hidden beneath your panty- line and also at the junction of your pubic hair bearing area. Regarding the potential for a red raised scar please note the following advice that I recommend to my patient in these circumstances:

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”
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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.

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Scar Treatment After a Tummy Tuck

Scars after surgery, especially cosmetic surgery where we all want the scars to look good, can be vexing problem. There are many treatment modalities that can be recommended for scars once they have become a problem but I prefer to worry about scars in the first 6 to 12 weeks when the scar is forming and we have the best chance of altering its course. During this time I recommend either a taping regime in which the patients place tape over their scars. Conventional paper tape seems to work as well as any other tape, it is softer and less expensive as well. The other option is to paint in a layer of silicone cream or gel on the scar a couple of times a day. These treatments seem to have a similar method lf action which is to keep moisture in. This promotes a nice soft, thin wound.

I hope that helps.

Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Proactive scar management after an abdominoplasty

There are several things that can be done in a proactive manner to improve scarring after an abdominoplasty.  It starts in the OR and the techniques used to close the scar without placing tension on the skin but on the deeper tissues.  Next I Like to keep the scar taped for the first 3 weeks this keeps some of the early tension off of the scar.  From the third week to the third month using a silicone product over the scar helps.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Management of the abdominoplasty scar

There are silicone sheeting strips that are custom made for the abdominoplasty scar and can be searched for online.

I, myself, prefer to recommend paper tape on the wound for about 3 months. It is easy, applied once a week, and cost effective.

Avoiding sun exposure and excessive tension is also important as well as tobacco products.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Best scar treatment after full tummy tuck?

Hello! Thank you for the question! It is common for scars to fully mature for up to a year. In the meantime, there are a few things that may help to ameliorate your incision/scar. The most proven (as well as cheapest) modality is simple scar massage. Applying pressure and massaging the well-healed scar has been shown to improve the appearance as it breaks up the scar tissue, hopefully producing the finest scar as possible. Other things that have been shown to add some benefit, albeit controversial, are silicone sheets, hydration, and topical steroids. These can usually be started at approximately 3-4 weeks postop and when incisions healed. In addition, avoidance of direct sunlight to the incision will significantly help the appearance as they tend to discolor with UV light during the healing process. Scars will never disappear, but attempt is made to make the finest scar in a concealed location.

If unsightly scars are still present after approximately a year's time, other things that your surgeon may consider are intralesional steroid injections, laser, or just surgical revision of the scar itself.

Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Best tummy tuck scar treatment

Scar is the glue that binds all wounds regardless of how the wounding took place.

Some wounds heal poorly / insufficiently and the wounds either widen or open up - this is seen in people with systemic diseases, malnutrition, radiated areas or when the wound edges were placed under great tension.

Other wounds heal excessively well and the scar rises out from the divide between the wound edges. This is referred to as SCAR HYPERTROPHY. (THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS A KELOID - which is in a separate sub-class of this category). Scar hypertrophy is usually seen in certain ethnic groups, wounds exposed to UV light or sun and in wounds involving areas under movement (such as knees, shoulders, middle of the chest etc).

Although you cannot change your genetic code and your ethnic background, you can LESSEN factors such as tension, UV light and reduce tension on the wound edges. Moreover, it has been shown that using sunblock, mederma and silicone containing dressings or tape can lower the likelihood of raised scars.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Embrace scar therapy for tummy tuck scars

Nearly all of our tummy tuck patients now use Embrace therapy after surgery to minimize scarring and I have definitely seen a significant difference in their scar quality.  Embrace was actually shown to make a difference in patient's scars by reducing tension, whereas most scar therapies have very little science behind them.

Scar Management after a Tummy Tuck

Scars after any surgery are a trade off for the benefits of the surgery. However, minimizing the scar is an important part of the procedure. Certain things cannot be adjusted such as the patient’s genetics and some patients simply are more prone to bad scars than other patients are. However, things that can be done to reduce the risk of bad scarring would be a meticulous surgical technique with closure under a reasonable degree of tension. Obviously, with tummy tuck surgery the skin is pulled quite a bit tighter than it is before the surgery and the pull of the repair can create widen scarring in certain patients. With tummy tuck surgery I perform multilayer closure to reduce the risk of scar widening and I ensure the patient wear an abdominal binder and walk and sleep in a somewhat flexed position for a week or two after surgery to help reduce the forces on scar. A new product that came out relatively recently is called Embrace, which is a special type of silicone sheeting that pulls tension possibly to reduce the forces that create scar tissue. This has been scientifically shown in double-blinded randomized studies to help with scarring. Generally, the Embrace would be started approximately 2-3 weeks after surgery and dressing changes would be performed once a week for a total of eight weeks. Other options after the fact also include scar massage, the avoidance of ultraviolet light exposure such as tanning booths or sun exposure and certain lasers can be used as well to reduce redness or thickness of scar tissue. Finally, steroid injections are sometimes necessary with patients with exceedingly raised scars. Best of luck with your surgery!

Robert Cohen, MD
Santa Monica Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 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.