The Tummy Tuck Scar
In a tummy tuck procedure, an incision is most commonly made from one hip to another. Dr. Patronella carefully plans the location of the incision so that the resulting scar is concealed beneath the bikini line. To diminish the appearance of the scar, Dr. Patronella incorporates a scar therapy program into the postoperative care of his tummy tuck patients. The products in this regimen are designed to provide an optimal healing environment for the scar in order to soften its appearance.
DR. PATRONELLA’S SCAR THERAPY PROGRAM
Careful attention to early incisional treatment and the resulting scar can make a dramatic difference in its appearance. Continuous use of steri-strips for the first 5-6 weeks provides good protection and support for the early incision. Occasionally, skin irritation occurs with steri-strips, requiring a brief (2-3 days) interval without the strips, applying a mild steroid cream (1% hydrocortisone) and Vitamin E / silicone gel to re-establish moisture and skin conditioning instead. If there is a true allergic reaction, the strips will be discontinued and the scar therapy regimen will be implemented once the reaction has resolved.
Several products may be recommended during scar treatment. It is important for each patient to assess tolerance and provide feedback.
Tummy Tuck Scar Therapy Products
Retinol or Retin-A
Applied nightly to cleansed skin on the scar directly, a retinol product such as SkinMedica’s Tri-Retinol Complex is an exfoliant for the scar surface, reducing thickness and unwanted pigmentation. Retinol should not be used until the 6 week mark to reduce the chance of irritation. This product will often cause dryness with flaking and irritation, requiring supplemental moisturizers such as Vitamin E/Aloe. If the skin irritation is severe, discontinuation for a brief 2-3 day interval is required. Some patients will only tolerate an every other night application.
Applied nightly over the retinol, and in the morning over a moisturizer (Vitamin E/ aloe), silicone gel assists in flattening scars and sealing in natural oils to maintain skin hydration and conditioning.
Vitamin C/E in silicone carrier
A skin care product containing vitamins C and E, such as SkinMedica’s Vitamin C + E Complex, is a good alternative for those who are intolerant of retinol or as a substitute. Vitamin C acts as an exfoliant, reducing surface scar and pigmentation, while vitamin E is a conditioner/ moisturizer.
Hydroquinone 4%—A strong bleaching agent, this product may be required in those patients who have a greater tendency to hyperpigment. This is commonly seen in darker skinned people (Blacks, Hispanics, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, etc.) and requires early attention to prevent hyperpigmentation.
Copyright © 2011 Christopher K. Patronella, M.D. All rights reserved. | TRUE FORM TUMMY TUCK, TRUE FORM ABDOMINOPLASTY | TRUE DEFINITION TUMMY TUCK |
and TRUE DEFINITION ABDOMINOPLASTY are trademarks of Christopher K. Patronella, M.D.