Q: Hi Dr. Eppley I want to get your opinion on what to do with scars after surgery. Specifically, in regards to the use of a taping method. I know there are a lot of creams out there but the use of tape just makes more sense to me. I have read about two different taping materials, silicone sheeting or strips and something called micropore tape. Which one do you think is better?
A: Yours is not the first such question that I have ever heard about the use of different taping methods. Specifically, can micropore tape or any other similar adhesive tape be just as effective as silicone sheets or tapes in helping scars look better? From a proven standpoint, I should say that silicone scar sheets are the only FDA-approved methods for the treatment of scars. This means that enough evidence and documentation has been provided by certain manufacturers that has clinically shown that it works. Silicone has a long clinical history of success in the management of surgery scars The molecular composition of silicone has a parallel position as one of the most inert biological materials known to man. This allows it to have minimal irritation to the skin with long-term use. As silicone also has a semi-occlusive property, it allows for scar hydration which has been shown to be helpful in minimizing undesired collagen production.
Micropore tape is appealing, however, because it is an easy taping that may be less expensive and more convenient. Manufactures of silicone-based tapes would no doubt tell you that there is no proven effectiveness of micropore tape and that it may, in fact, lead to skin reactions because it is too constrictive and does not permit hydration of the skin. The lack of FDA-approval is true but I have yet to have a patient that has developed a skin reaction problem with micropore tape, which is my preferred method of scar taping.
The debate between these two taping methods may continue but doing some form of scar management, if possible, is probably better than no method in many cases. In select cases, it could be beneficial to avoid the need for a later scar revision and is very helpful as a postoperative scar revision topical treatment.
Dr. Barry Eppley