Can I Use Vitamin E on Incisions Resulting from Breast Reconstruction Surgery?

vitamin e on incisionsThe below question is answered by Charleston breast surgeon, Dr. James Craigie, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.

Is Vitamin E of any use on incisions? 

Scarguard or silicone sheeting may be a better alternative.  There are several things, scientific improvements, which helps the appearance of scars. Silicone is probably the most effective.  Silicone works by an unknown mechanism to help soften raised or severe scars regardless of how old they are.  The other technique proven to work is massage.  Topical massage can help the scars whether they are new or old and combined with silicone is probably the most useful combination treatment for difficult scars.  Scarguard is a product that contains silicone, comes in a liquid form is painted on like fingernail polish, and because of the silicone component it is effective for some scars.  Regarding Vitamin E, there have been some studies to hint that it may help with scar formation and some people find a benefit in taking vitamin E orally from a capsule or rubbing it into a scar.  However, it may be that massage is more effective than the Vitamin E.  In summary, the best answer is that all of these techniques can help.  They must be used at the appropriate time so it is always best to ask your surgeon for guidance as to when the best time to begin scar therapy would is.  Also, it is important to know that no technique will make scars disappear completely.  The goal with these treatments is either to minimize the severity of the scar or to improve its appearance.

-James E. Craigie, M.D.

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Is This Normal? Your Post Op Breast Reconstruction Question Answered

Post Op Breast ReconstructionThe below question comes all the way from Australia, and is answered by Charleston breast surgeon Dr. James Craigie of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction!

6 weeks after surgery I had a leak a long my stitches all bright yellow came out when that stopped a week after my scar further round swelled and it started leaking from there. Thats stopping now, is this normal? Will it keep happening, and I think my breast seems to be going smaller?


It depends on the type of surgery you had. Drainage from incisions 6 weeks from surgery could be related to  incision healing. If the incision healed without problems and then the drainage occurred it could be a reaction to stitches or from a collection of fluid underneath that is working its way out. Your description might suggest liquefied fat is working its way out. If it is coming from the breast it may stop on its own or could require a procedure to remove all of it. Make you sure you check with your surgeon to make sure there is no infection. I hope this helps answer your question.

James Craigie, MD

Center For Natural Breast Reconstruction

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Scarring After Breast Reconstruction Surgery

The below question is answered by Charleston breast surgeon, Dr. Richard M. Kline, Jr. of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction:

Is there anything you do to diminish the scars resulting from all of the reconstruction processes?

Generally speaking the quality of the scar is not affected by the surgeon’s technique, and is unfortunately completely dependent upon the patient’s biochemistry.  Having said that, there are some scar patterns, which are more favorable than others, in terms of allowing patients to wear different styles and types of garments without displaying scars.  In a best case scenario, every patient would have a nipple sparing mastectomy where scars readily conceal beneath most swimsuits, although this is unfortunately not possible.  The next best scenario is to have skin sparing mastectomies with a nipple reconstruction, which can still result in a scar pattern which can be readily hidden under most swim wear and in most types of clothing.

More Information on Scarless Mastectomy/Hidden Scar Mastectomy Procedures

Advances in microsurgery and breast surgery allow us to perform mastectomy with hidden scars as in a breast lift or augmentation, without leaving scars on the breast skin. Patients who are candidates for this surgery preserve their breast skin – including the nipple and areola.

This technique begins with an incision under the arm, under the breast fold, around the nipple or down the bottom of the breast below the bra line. Reconstruction involves using a one of the perforator flap techniques (DIEP, SIEA or GAP), with the relocated tissue filling in and shaping the breast.

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