How Long Should I Wait to Do Scar Laser Treatment? (photo)

I had a tummy tuck & breast lift 4 years ago & my scars are dark in some areas & have a few slightly raised spots. I'm getting a breast augmentation done in Dec/Jan & want to wait until that is complete to do the laser. How long should I let the scars form from my BA form before doing the treatment? I've always scarred dark & I think I'll respond wonderfully to laser treatment. My scar is higher due to a tattoo I had on my stomach. (My PS didn't want to leave a lizard's butt on me thakfully!)

Doctor Answers 9

Laser treatment?

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. I typically allow after 4-6 weeks postop and once fully 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.

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. Lasers may also be an option for the appearance of your scars. If still no result, consideration for lasers, steroids, or scar revision may be entertained. Best wishes!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

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

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Laser after Surgery

   Laser may be reasonable after the initial phase of scar healing is complete at the 6 week mark in an uncomplicated case.  However, I usually recommend waiting longer, because time will usually be the best help, particularly in a good scar former.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Laser for Scars

Thank you for your question and photos.

I generally ask patients to give their body time to heal and scars do improve for up to one year post op surgery. You may find that your breast augmentation scar does not need laser treatment.

Give your body at least 6 months to heal prior to considering this.

Best Wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Laser scars after breast augmentation

I would think 8 weeks after breast augmentation it would be ok to laser the scars. You may want to wait longer on the new scar used to place the implants.Good Luck!

Gregory T. Lynam, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Scar Laser Treatment?? The dark scar is areolar pigment!!

Most of your scars are normal appearing. The pigmented area that is noticeable is the vertical scar from the mastopexy, and this is not a dark scar, but rather some of the original areolar skin that is more pigmented than the rest of your skin. This is a common occurrence with mastopexy in patients whose areolas are large--there is too much skin to close the incision if all the areolar pigment had been removed. 

Later, when the skin is more lax, this can be removed, and for you this can be done at the time of the breast aug. Then, give your scars 3 to 6 months and decide if you want any laser treatment.

Thanks, best wishes.

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

Improving breast scars on the areola and underneath the breast

Early laser treatment of breast scars can improve the texture and color of scars before they get worse.  

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Mommy Makeover - scar laser treatment

Before l send my patients over to our laser nurse I wait 2-3 months.  That timeline seems to allow healing to proceed to the point were laser would not cause any issues yet early enough to affect the pigment in the inflammatory process.

Stefan Mark Szczerba, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Now is a good time to start your scar treatment.

Generally we start scar treatments a year after surgery in my clinic.  Your scars could respond well to IPL or Fractional Laser treatments to lighten the pigmentation of the scar.  A lightening cream such as hydroquinone could also help.  If you have raised spots, injection with steroid could also help.



Shim Ching, MD
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 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.