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How Do I Treat an Appendectomy Scar?

By K. Gierok
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The best way to treat an appendectomy scar depends a bit on the stage and freshness of the incision, but in general you’ll want to work on keeping the site clean and dry in the first days and weeks, then move your focus to moisture. The more nutrients your skin has on hand, the less likely you are to develop a painful or unsightly scar. Antibiotic ointments are usually recommended at first, normally to prevent infection but also to aid the skin’s natural healing process. Cocoa butter, vitamin E oil, and other rich moisturizers are usually better for long-term use, and can often significantly reduce visible scar tissue with time. If you’re really worried about the appearance of your scar, particularly if it’s also painful, you may want to look into cosmetic procedures like laser therapy or additional surgeries. These more extreme measures are usually reserved for very noticeable scars and scars that cause a great deal of pain.

Keep the Site Clean and Dry

One of the most effective ways to treat an appendectomy scar is to prevent it from becoming infected or inflamed, both of which can lead to more visible discoloration, skin bumping, and pain. The best way to do this is to keep the incision site clean and dry. Your surgeon will probably give you specific cleaning instructions, but in general you should change your bandages at least once a day, and especially after bathing; patting the incision dry with warm water and correctly re-bandaging the wound are important, too. It’s also crucial that you avoid picking at the forming scabs as the site heals.

Antibiotic Ointments

You will probably be prescribed an antibiotic ointment to use as you care for your healing incision. It’s important to use it just as directed in order to help speed your recovery and lessen the chances of complications, particularly infection. Antibiotics kill harmful bacteria that can enter your body at the scar site.

Cocoa Butter

Once your scar has formed and the site has fully healed, you can often reduce visible scarring with regular use of a thick moisturizing cream. Cocoa butter, which is derived from raw cocoa beans, is one of the most popular, and also one of the most widely available in most places. While cocoa butter can help diminish most scars, the best results are usually achieved with those that are more minor starting out.

Vitamin E

Application of pure vitamin E is another common technique. Though vitamin E is most often sold in the capsule form, when opened, the liquid inside the capsule can easily be rubbed onto the scar. It may also be possible to find small droppers or vials of the vitamin; the vitamin may also be sold pre-mixed into a cream or thick lotion.

Though pure vitamin oil does tend to be highly moisturizing, it can also cause irritation in some people. It’s often a good idea to dilute the vitamin in some other oil, like almond oil for instance, which can act as a “carrier.” Mixing a few drops into a lotion or cream that you know won’t irritate your skin might also be effective.

Cosmetic Surgery

In the most severe cases, surgery may be required to completely treat an appendectomy scar. It is important for those who are considering this procedure to remember that it may not be an option for all individuals, especially those who are very young or old or who are suffering from a weakened immune system. Performing surgery on these individuals can put a significant strain on the body, and in some cases can even be life threatening. Individuals who have an old appendectomy scar and are interested in undergoing surgery to remove it are typically encouraged to undergo a complete physical in order to make sure they are healthy enough for the procedure.

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Discussion Comments
By burcinc — On May 15, 2014

@SteamLouis-- Lavender oil is also great for scars. I have a prescription scar cream that contains lavender oil.

If creams don't work for you, you could try something like laser resurfacing but it's an expensive treatment. I also heard that treatments like laser, microdermabrasion and peels can have side effects and irritate skin. So these should probably be your last option. Try creams first.

By turquoise — On May 14, 2014

@SteamLouis-- I think some cocoa butter lotions on the market are not very good quality. Some actually have low concentrations of cocoa butter and have other ingredients like glycerin. They may also have irritants like fragrance and alcohol. Those who are planning to use cocoa butter for scars should use pure cocoa butter. This is sold in solid blocks at organic stores. A small amount can easily be melted for application.

Vitamin E oil is great as well and you should definitely give it a try. I have been healing scars with vitamin E oil for years and have also faded a surgery scar with it. Just keep in mind that no matter what remedy you use, you need to use it daily for a month to start seeing results. Since surgery scars are usually bigger, they may take longer to fade.

By SteamLouis — On May 14, 2014

I've been using cocoa butter on my appendectomy scar but it doesn't seem to be working. I think I might switch to vitamin E and see if that works better.

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