Will 5-FU Injections Help My Gynecomastia Scar Tissue Build-Up?

Q:  Hi Dr. Eppley, I recently had a revison gynecomatia surgery to remove scar tissue about 3 months ago and now I have even more scar tissue buildup than I had before. I have a big lump under my left nipple and was wondering if I it was possible to get 5-FU injections to reduce the scar tissue because I heard that Kenalog can have significant side effects. My doctor does not offer 5-FU and I have heard that this needs to be injected within the first few months after surgery to have an effect so I would like to get this done if possible. I would appreciate hearing back from you and helping me out with this if possible. Thank you!

A: At this early point after your revisional surgery, it is reasonable to consider a non-surgical treatment for your recurrent scar tissue. If significant improvement was to occur, you should be seeing it by now. The standard injectable scar treatment is Kenalog. While there are potential side effects (fat and skin atrophy), these are very much dosage and location dependent. High and frequent injections of Kenalog in skin level scars can cause these problems. But low doses of Kenalog done judiciously for subcutaneous fibrosis is unlikely to create these potential problems.

5-FU scar injections are useful in scar issues that have proven resistant to Kenalog. While there is nothing wrong with using it as a first choice therapy, it may or may not be necessary. When administered it is mixed with either a small amount of Kenalog or local anesthetic since there is definite burning afterwards associated with 5-FU injections. You are correct in assuming that these injections should be done early as they work best when new scar tissue is forming as opposed to long-stand established scar tissue.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana