Posts Tagged ‘poor scarring’

Optimize Scars from Plastic Surgery

optimize scarsIf you’re considering plastic surgery, you’ve probably thought about potential scarring. Maybe you have scars that haven’t healed well, or maybe you’ve seen pictures, and worry that you might get the same result. While there’s a possibility of poor scarring after any surgery, the good news is that most scars created during cosmetic procedures heal well and are minimally visible.

Today, plastic surgery procedures are designed so that scars are positioned in areas that are mostly hidden. There are also surgical techniques that can give scars a better chance of healing well.

What your surgeon can do to reduce or hide scars

Position the scars well

Cosmetic surgeons take great care in positioning scars in inconspicuous areas. With rhinoplasty (nose surgery), for example, the scars are sometimes entirely inside the nose or barely noticeable between the nostrils. For breast surgery, scars can be placed underneath the breast, hidden around the areola (pigmented area surrounding the nipple) or occasionally under the arm. For a tummy tuck, the scar can be positioned low, so underwear or swimwear hide it.

Choose the right tools

The materials used to close a wound can contribute to it healing well. In some areas, removable sutures may give a better scar appearance. While in other areas, absorbable sutures (that don’t require removal) may be the better option. Sometimes, like during a face lift, for example, surgeons use surgical staples because they’re gentler on hair follicles. An experienced and skilled cosmetic surgeon will know what tools will work best for your particular situation and surgery.

Reduce tension on sutures

How a wound is closed can have a significant impact on how the scar heals. Many studies have shown that tension on healing skin incisions contributes to poor scarring. To combat this, we use techniques to control this. One common procedure is to use supportive sutures on the deeper tissues, so the tension lies well inside (where scarring isn’t visible) and the skin itself isn’t being pulled. Supportive dressings and minimizing movement that creates excess tension on the scars also helps.

What you can do to optimize scars

There are also things you can do to optimize scars after surgery.

  • Apply silicone strips, gel or ointment to your scar
  • Avoid significant sun exposure to scars during the healing period
  • Keep scars moist

Be aware, there are lots of products out there that claim to improve scars, but most don’t have much evidence to back up their claims.

If you’re prone to poor scarring

While most patients heal very well after surgery, some patients may have a genetic predisposition to develop poor scars. Although the tendency to develop hypertrophic scars (scars that heal to appear thick, elevated and red) or keloid scars (similar to hypertrophic scars, but can grow) can exist in any ethnic group, the risk is higher for individuals of African or Asian descent.

If you have a history (or a family history) of this kind of scarring, talk it over with your surgeon before embarking on surgery. They might suggest varying the procedure, using a different closure mechanism or offer adjunctive therapies to help you get the best possible outcome. And, in the case that a poor scar does develop, it can be treated with topical treatments, taping or steroid injections to improve its appearance. Or, in more severe cases, a small scar revision procedure, typically done under local anesthesia with minimal recovery, may do the trick.

Emory Aesthetic Center

Schedule your consultation today and let the skilled surgeons at Emory Aesthetic Center help you learn more about how to optimize scars after treatment.

Request an appointment

or call us at 404-778-6880.