Advice on minimizing scarring from open heart incision

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Michelle66

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Hi, my name is Michelle and I am new here. I am scheduled to go to surgery in 4 weeks. I am undergoing valve replacement for a bicuspid valve and a repair of a second valve at Stanford. I am concerned about scarring, especially ketoid scarring, on the incision from open heart surgery. Anyone have any tips on how to minimize scarring--what topicals are good or bad? General advice? Thanks, Michelle
 

ValveAdmin

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Welcome to the forum Michelle. Best wishes on your scheduled surgery and recovery.
 

treichert0312

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My scar from when I was 11 got the keloid effect. However, my successive surgeries have had minimal scarring - the third one this past June left just a trace of a line on top of the keloid.
I have done nothing with the scars, so afraid I can't help you there. Have heard that Vitamin E helps but no personal experience with that. If it's any consolation, you are gaining entry into the zipper club.
General advice - get in peak physical condition going into the surgery as best as you can. You're going into the ring with a surgical version of Michael Tyson and that will put you down for the count, but coming out there's very good chance for success.
 

KLS39

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I also have a keloid scar in the shape of a T from my surgery at 14. My scar from the surgery I had last year is longer but is much thinner. The top couple of inches has faded quite a bit as has the two additional scars from having four chest tubes not two as I had in the first surgery. I occasionally put tea tree oil on it which is good for scarring but can't guarantee that has helped it fade.
 

dick0236

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Hi Michellee66......and welcome to the forum. Those of us who had this surgery decades ago mostly have a keloid scar........but with the modern techniques, the scar is no longer the wide, bumpy, raised scar it was then. Until the Covid epidemic, I visited valve surgery patients in one of our local hospitals that did dozens of OHS per month.........and I was amazed at how thin......and almost healed their scar seemed.....just a few days out of surgery. Odds are that your scar will be barely noticeable after surgery. Good Luck
 

DJ-Rae09

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Hi, my name is Michelle and I am new here. I am scheduled to go to surgery in 4 weeks. I am undergoing valve replacement for a bicuspid valve and a repair of a second valve at Stanford. I am concerned about scarring, especially ketoid scarring, on the incision from open heart surgery. Anyone have any tips on how to minimize scarring--what topicals are good or bad? General advice? Thanks, Michelle

Hi Michelle,

I'm 8 weeks post surgery from an AVR. I have recently developed keloid/hypertrophic at the bottom of my incision.
My doctor has suggested cica care which I'm now using. It's a silicon gel sheet which you apply to the scar.


I'm only on day 2 of using it and they recommend using it for 2-4months.

Cheers.
 

RobThatsMe

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Hi,

I have had two open heart surgeries and have used cocoa butter on the incisions once the scab is off.
An old farmer neighbor told of this after my first surgery, and it worked very well for me. My scar line is barely visible.
Palmers makes one that has this and Vit E in a paste. The cocoa butter I used was in a push up stick.

Cheers,

Rob
 

juniper

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Scars can be reduced quite effectively through a variety of techniques (excision, lasers, injections of steroids directly into the scar), so if you wind up with one you have options.
 

tommyboy14

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Hello,

I used the Cicacare product for about 6 weeks and then got a superficial sternal wound infection. Part of my wound started oozing fluid, but it turned out to be superficial only. I followed instruction very carefully and this still happened.

Now it was quite a hot summer in the UK this year, but I was very careful with the product washing it every day and got what then looked like the beginning of sternal wound infection.

So personally, I would stay away from Cica-Care.

I could of course be an exception to the rule, but I just wanted to share my experience with everyone.




Hi Michelle,

I'm 8 weeks post surgery from an AVR. I have recently developed keloid/hypertrophic at the bottom of my incision.
My doctor has suggested cica care which I'm now using. It's a silicon gel sheet which you apply to the scar.


I'm only on day 2 of using it and they recommend using it for 2-4months.


 

tom in MO

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My scar is minimal 10 years out, I didn't do anything special. My dermatologist recommend petroleum jelly after each pre-cancer spot he removes. With my first major abdominal surgery, the surgeon said how much scarring one gets is also dependent upon genetics. As a man, I tell little kids who ask, I got them in a knife fight :)

There was one woman on here who had 5 valve surgeries and passed away in her 20s. She said that she viewed the scars as badges of honor reminding her of all the care and love she received through her journey with her family and care givers.

Scars can enhance the beauty of a person because they give a point of contrast which accentuates your beauty. I work with a very good looking woman who has a facial scar at the corner of her mouth to part way down her chin, which just makes the rest of her face look better.
 

Chuck C

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Hi Michelle and welcome to the forum!

My surgery was 18 months ago, and I have no keloid scarring, only a thin white line, barely visible at this point. My surgeon prefers using surgical glue to seal the soft tissue of the wound to minimize scarring. You might ask your surgeon about that, but it seems like each surgeon has their own way of doing certain things, so it might not be an option. It seems that those who have had their surgery done in the last few years report minimal scarring, so I believe that there have been advancements there over the years.

Some swear by vitamin E to help with scarring, but I can't speak from personal experience.

Stanford is a top notch medical clinic, considered one of the very best in the country, so I'm sure that you're in good hands.

Luck with your procedure and please keep us posted.
 

almost_hectic

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I used a product call ScarAway silicone scar repair gel. You have to wait until there is no more scab and then just apply it every day. I used it daily for something like 9 months maybe. One more thing that is key to minimize visibility of your scar is keep it out of direct sunlight for the entire first year. Sunburn or suntan on your scar in the first year will darken it permanently (I was told). I followed both of those pieces of advice for my incision and now may scar is smooth, flat and barely even visible. Home - ScarAway®
 

carolinemc

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kansas city, mo
I used a product call ScarAway silicone scar repair gel. You have to wait until there is no more scab and then just apply it every day. I used it daily for something like 9 months maybe. One more thing that is key to minimize visibility of your scar is keep it out of direct sunlight for the entire first year. Sunburn or suntan on your scar in the first year will darken it permanently (I was told). I followed both of those pieces of advice for my incision and now may scar is smooth, flat and barely even visible. Home - ScarAway®
I am proud of by OPS scar, for they went over the original incision and it looks great.
 

Sim

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Des Moines, WA
I did expose my surgery to the sun extensively in the first year and it looks darm red. It doesn't bother me much. I just love to be alive and enjoy the sun.
 

Canton

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Clintondale, New York, United States
I had my surgery about 2 years ago now... the vertical scar is barely noticeable... however, two scars from where they had tubes coming out of me... those are far more noticeable but small and horizontal. I never really cared about the scars and just put on the lotion the hospital gave me until it was used up... then nothing.
 

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