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Oct 18, 2009 03:32PM, edited Oct 18, 2009 04:29PM
Luah, you might call your surgeon's office to find out for sure what they did, but my bet is on NancyD's explanation.
You shouldn't need to worry about the incision opening up, because it was almost certainly closed with "buried" (subcuticular) stitches. It's routine nowdays for surgeons to use absorbable suture material, and a suture (stitching) pattern that sort of folds the stitches down underneath the skin as the skin edges are pulled together. (It's awfully hard to describe it in words, but it is really cool to see it done ... or to do it!)
Anyway, typically the surgeon will close the incision in muliple layers. The deeper tissues will be closed with stitches that are truly "buried", and the skin will be closed with the subcuticular stitches. Then, the steri-strips will be placed across the incision line to hold the skin edges tightly together. That's how my mastectomy/SNB incision was closed. The steri-strips help the skin edges to re-connect, resulting in a narrow, perfectly smooth scar line.
For a smaller incision, though, the steri-strips might not be necessary. That would be true even for a larger (longer) incision if the surgeon closes those skin edges with surgical "glue". I've never had glue used on me, but it's pretty common.
BTW: Surgeons will omit the steri-strips if the patient is likely to react to them or ... um, ... chew them off. Veterinarians frequently use subcuticular sutures to close "spay" incisions in dogs and cats, but they don't put steri-srips over the incisions because the pets will quickly remove them. Things usually work out fine even without the steri-strips. :)
[Edited to direct the reply to Luah, who asked the original question.]
Dx IDC, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-