How Soon Can You Start Applying Scar Creams/oils to Tummy Tuck Scars ???

What are the best products to use to reduce the scar appearance ??

Doctor Answers 11

Scar care after tummy tuck

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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

When to Apply Topical Agents to the Scar after Surgery?

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My philosophy is to start applying these agents when the scar is healed enough.  This is a clinical judgment, but in general, is about 4 weeks after surgery.

I like products which have a mild steroid (hydrocortisone) and silicone in them.  The steroid will help with the redness and the silicone will help with scar healing.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon

Scar Management After Tummy Tuck

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Although we still have lots to learn about the scarring process, there certainly are things that can be done to improve scars. Tummy tuck scars will take at least 6 months to reach their final maturation, and many times longer.

I usually steri-strip tummy tuck scars for two weeks post-op. Moisturizing lotion can then be used for any dryness. Scar massage begins after three weeks. This allows time for the local tenderness to subside and for the scar to gain some strength. Massage is performed three times daily for five minutes. Lotion is used as a moisturizer and lubricant while mild to moderate pressure is applied rubbing along the direction of the scar (not across it). A tummy tuck scar usually has a fairly substantial “healing ridge” beneath it, which takes several months to dissipate; scar massage will slowly help this resolve.

Silicone gel sheeting may be helpful, although once again the exact mechanism by how this works is not known. It is important to wash all lotion from the skin before apply the sheeting; this prevents early breakdown of the silicone gel sheet. Silicone gel sheeting should be worn for a minimum of 12 hours per day, and I encourage patients to wear it longer if possible.

Scarguard and HybriSil are other topical scar products that patients like and seem to be beneficial at times.

Sun protection is also important during the healing process, so don’t forget that. Normal clothing only provides a spf6 - spf8 so supplemental sunscreen is necessary.

You should certainly discuss scar management with your surgeon to see what s/he recommends. Your surgeon should be able to guide you appropriately and offer advice so that you do not waste money on unnecessary or ineffective treatments.

When to apply scar creams to tummy tuck scars

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Most patients are impatient in wanting to apply "scar creams" to scars thinking that those creams will help scar healing. The truth is that most scars do no,t and will not benefit much from scar creams. Scar formation is a gradual process which can take upwards of one year and longer. During that time the scar will undrgo a lot of changes including color, texture, elevation amd thickening. That is why one must be followed up with their plastic surgeon so he( she) can decide if any intervention is necessary such as steroid injections. I would not suggest going out and buying scar products unless you just want to support the product company.    

Products for scars.

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silicone gel products work well. so do scar lasers. i use the palomar non ablative laser and have seen nice results from that treatment. I recommend waiting 3 weeks to start the gel, and wait at least 6 weeks to consider laser treatments.

Tummy Tuck Scar Cream

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The condition of the skin closure will dictate how soon you can start applying scar creams and oils to the incision/scar.  Wait until your first post operative visit and discuss this with your surgeon, first.  It is very important that all sutures and drains are removed and the skin is well healed so that the risk for infection is minimal.

Tummy Tuck Scars

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Generally, you can start applying cream to your scar between 2-4 weeks. However, you’ll want to check with your plastic surgeon to see what his or her preference is. Keep in mind that you’ll also need your skin closure to be completely healed before moving on to a scar cream.

John Diaz, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Scar treatments

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The incision needs to be completely healed with epithelium covering the scar.  Usually I have my patients wait 2 weeks until starting scar treatment.  I prefer SkinMedica Scar Recovery Gel as a treatment.

Scar care

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I often recommend DERMATIX, a silicone gel that has helped my patients. Silicone Sheeting can also improve and speed healing. They flatten scars and reduce their visibility.  You can start applying these once the steristrips fall off and there's no longer any crustiness or scabbing on the incision.

However, the best way to help your scars is just let your body deal with them and stay out of the sun for a year, as suntanning the scar may stain it permanently red or brown. This makes it more noticeable.  

Scar Gel after Tummy Tuck

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I usually wait until well healed at 3 weeks. Ask your surgeon about his or her preference. Silicone strips and creams work well.

Richard Dale Reynolds, MD
El Paso Plastic 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.