I Just Had a Tummy Tuck May 8th 2013. Should I Cover the Scar, or Leave It Bare?

Doctor Answers 6

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 48 reviews

Scar should be protected after abdominoplasty.

Scars turn out best when they are left alone after the operation. Avoidance of tension in trauma will allow mother nature to leave a good result.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Caring for an incision after an abdominoplasty

Every plastic surgeon has their own routine for post operative wound care.  He is your best resource for guiding you completely through the wound healing process.  Most patients like to be proactive in their wound care.  The use of paper tape and silicone base products have been found to be useful. If you are interested then contact  your surgeon before you embark on a self care routine. 

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

Scar Care After Tummy Tuck

There is no "correct" answer to your question.  I generally recommend that patients keep steri-strips on the abdominal and umbilical scars for at least 3 weeks post-op.  After that point I start them on BioCorneum, a topical silicone gel product with an integrated sunblock and continue it for several months.  I would strongly recommend that you consult with the plastic surgeon that treated you and use his or her suggestions.  Good luck! 

Mark Schwartz, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Tummy Tuck Incision Line Care?

Best to run these types of questions by your plastic surgeon who knows your situation best,  probably has preferences, and is ultimately responsible for your care.

 Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews

Scar treatment

Surgeons have their own routines for the care of their surgical scars. If your surgeon has not specified anything than it probably would be ok for you to choose from the choices that are available. I recommend paper tape scar taping for 3 months. Mederma, ScarGuard, steroid tape and silicone gel sheeting are other options. 

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

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