How Long Should Surgical Tape Stay on Incision After a Full Tummy Tuck?

I am 9days out of a full tummy tuck and just curious if I should just leave the surgical tape on and let it fall off on its own or peel it off after a certain amount of time? Nurse at the PS office said if it wasn't off after two weeks to peel it off. Not sure I feel comfortable doing that??? Others experiences and knowledge???? I have prosil to start when all is healed.

Doctor Answers 13

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 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

Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Should tape come off 10 days post-op following tummy tuck?

The value of leaving tape, or Steri Strips, on the incisions is that they will protect the skin from having scabs and crusts knocked off which could make the scars worse.  There is no set protocol for removing tape, and you will find some surgeons who don't use it at all, and some who keep it on for a month.  Typically, if the tape is clean and dry, and the skin seems to be healing well underneath without infection, I will leave it on for 2 weeks or so to let the skin heal fully before removing it.  I will then begin something like your Prosil or another comparable silicone based ointment.

Joseph L. Grzeskiewicz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

How Long Should Surgical Tape Stay on Incision After a Full Tummy Tuck?

You should follow the recommendation of your surgeon.  If you are uncomfortable with removing the tape yourself, then contact the surgeon's office and let them know.  It can be a very quick visit for you and if it eases your mind, then go for it.

For more information, please go to my website at:

Garrett A. Wirth, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

How long to keep an incision taped after an abdominoplasty

You should follow the recommendations of your plastic surgeon, if he wants the tape off at 2 weeks that is what you should do.  Personally I like to keep the incisions taped for the first three weeks,  we begin changing it daily after one week.  I think it keeps some of the early tension off of the incision and helps make a nicer scar.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Surgical Tape on Incision #tummytuck

Taping incisions has been shown to improve scar outcome. I have patients tape as long as they can tolerate doing it. In the beginning you want to make sure that the incisions are not wet beneath the tape because the skin can become macerated. In the end here you just need to ask what your surgeon likes to do and follow their advice. 

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

How Long Should Surgical Tape Stay on Incision After a Full Tummy Tuck?

Each surgeon has his own management protocol, but I must say that the practice  of leaving  the surgical tape staying on the incision  as long as possible is convenient and usually has the advantage of better quality and  aesthetics  of scar because this takes away stress to the wound and there is less traction

Jose Luis Acosta Collado, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

How long to keep surgical tape after Tummy Tuck

Since you are already outside the time that your surgeon's office has set for how long they would like you to keep the tapes on, you have several options. One would be to remove them yourself. Since you don't feel comfortable with doing that, you could make an appointment to see your surgeon who could remove them for you. Additionally, you could just leave them until they fall off spontaneously (they will eventually). It will not cause any harm to leave them and you should wash and care for the skin normally until they fall off.

Eugene J. Sidoti, Jr., MD
Scarsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Sugical tape after tummy tuck

We cover the incision line with surgical wound tapes called steri-strips and apply them with an adhesive so patients can shower right away. I remove them in the office at two weeks. Your surgeon's routine might vary but the office should help you if you are uncomfortable removing them.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Tape on Incision Line after Tummy Tuck Surgery?

You will find that every practice has a different “protocol” when it comes to incision line care after tummy tuck surgery. Given your concerns about removing the tape, I'm sure your plastic surgeon will help you during an office visit.

 Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,485 reviews

How Long Should Surgical Tape Stay on Incision After a Full Tummy Tuck?

Sounds like you got the answer from your surgeon's office. The steristrips come off rather easily at two weeks, but if you are reluctant, call the office and set up an appointment. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 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.