What Can I Do About An Open Heart Surgery Scar? (photo)

I had an open heart surgery 6 years ago and now I'm living with a huge scar in front of my breast. I accepted it, never show off this scar and wear terrible clothes, but now, I will get married soon and this scar scares me, I'm so ugly with it, I feel uncomfortable to show it to anybody, even to my fiancé. Can this scar be made smaller or even look better than the recent one?

Doctor Answers 4

What Can I Do About An Open Heart Surgery Scar? (

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You have a very hypertrophiv irregular sternal incision scar. Best to seek in person care from steroid injections over a few months, possible re excision to radiation (doubtful). 

Chest keloids from heart surgery

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Chest keloids from heart surgery can be treated non surgically with the following: 

  1. Selective IIT
  2. Cryotherapy
  3. Pressure Treatment
  4. Pulsed Dye Scar Laser

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Treatment for keloid scar

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It looks like you have a keloid scar.  The first treatment would be to inject with Kenalog (a type of cortisone medicine).  Another option is to inject with 5-fluorouracil to shrink the scar tissue.  5-fluorouracil is a chemotherapy drug which works well for thick scars.  I typically do a urine pregnancy test to rule out pregnancy prior to injecting in a female patient.  Usually repeat injections will shrink a keloid over time.  You should see a dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment.

Richard Ort, MD
Lone Tree Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Chest keloid scar

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A keloid scar on the chest is very common after heart surgery. The treatment of choice is injection of cortisone (& less commonly 5-fluorouracil), sometimes along with liquid nitrogen. Topical therapy in this situation is of minimal benefit. Speak with your dermatologist about the best treatment option for you.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

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.