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 22

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 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.

#tummytuck
#TT
#scarmanagement

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 119 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 15 reviews

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 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
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Scar Treatment After a Tummy Tuck

The outcome of a scar can be optimized by good plastic surgical technique when the the incision is repaired. Typically I use a seal of of a specially formulated skin glue that remains in place for a month following surgery. This provides an excellent environment for the skin incision to heal in this critical early period. Following this treatment, topical scar recovery gels and retinol can also improve the appearance of the scar. In addition, silicone,either in the form of strips or a topical gel can help flatten scars. In patients with darker skin tones, a bleaching cream is often necessary to diminish dark pigmentation from the scar. And finally, a laser and/or IPL treatments might also diminish the appearace of the scar.

Improving Tummy Tuck Scars

I often combine tummy tuck surgery with a very regimented postoperative scar regimen that includes laser treatment with PDL, TAC injection, digital massage, topical creams, and topical applicators. Use Platos scar serum twice daily.

Best,
Dr. Karamanoukian
los Angeles 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

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 38 reviews

Scar gels

There are some new scar gels which contain growth factors, which we have found to be very helpful in fading the scar.

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.