How to Avoid Scarring After Surgery
One of the reasons that many people avoid plastic surgery, even if they want a procedure, is because of the fear of scarring. After all, the entire point of having plastic surgery is to get a pleasing cosmetic result. If you end up with an unsightly scar along with your breast enhancement, tummy tuck or facelift, then why even bother getting the procedure in the first place?
Plastic surgeons, especially ISAPS plastic surgeons, are trained to give you the best possible cosmetic result from a surgical procedure, so you can expect far less scarring than you otherwise would with similarly invasive non-plastic surgery. An experienced plastic surgeon knows exactly where to place scars so their appearance is minimal and they will heal the fastest. That said, it is impossible to avoid ALL scarring after a procedure, but a good surgeon will certainly take steps to minimize it!
What Causes Scarring?
When there is an injury to the top layer of the skin, like a paper cut, there doesn’t tend to be any kind of scar tissue developed. The skin just heals. When you go a bit deeper into the dermis and subcutaneous fat, your body needs to do a whole lot more work to heal the incision. It begins to produce collagen, the cells that give skin its elasticity, and pulls the wound together, using the collagen like a type of tissue “glue”. This results in repaired tissue that will likely be a different color and texture than the skin around it. A fully healed incision can take on a darker, reddish appearance, while an older scar can take on a whitish, silvery appearance. For most people, neither is a desirable cosmetic option.
How Can I Avoid Scars?
If you are getting an invasive procedure, you can’t avoid scarring entirely. The body’s repair mechanisms will result in scar formation, no matter what you do. The scar will fade in time, as your body continues to heal and break down the excess collagen that was produced while you were healing, but that might not be fast enough. There are many ways to minimize the appearance of scars, though.
1. Get a Great Plastic Surgeon
The #1 way to avoid heavily visible scarring after plastic surgery is to get an experienced ISAPS surgeon. Plastic surgeons who practice good, solid surgical technique will be able to keep any tissue damage to a bare minimum during a procedure. They also may be able to avoid using external sutures to close the incision, instead of using subcuticular sutures that will be reabsorbed by your body.
2. Incision Placement
Plastic surgeons are trained to hide scars and know the places where the body is most likely to heal the fastest, such as the face, under the arms, and eyelids. Incisions can also be made along skin creases or in more hidden places, making scars far less visible to the average person. If you have a facelift, for example, a plastic surgeon can place the scars near your hairline.
3. What Does Your Genetics Tell You?
Some people are genetically predisposed to heavy scarring. If you have had experiences in the past where you’ve developed noticeable scarring after an injury or surgical procedure, it is essential that you tell your plastic surgeon. They might be able to recommend a non-surgical alternative that, although not quite as effective as plastic surgery, will be much easier for your body to recover from without any visible signs or scars.
4. Proper Post-Surgery Care
After plastic surgery, you and your surgeon need to pay very close attention to your incision, making sure that it is healing properly and that you avoid any complications. Try to keep your activity to a minimum, and avoid stretching or pulling that area of your body while it is healing. Keeping the wound clean and free of any kind of infection is also essential to prevent the formation of heavily visible scars.
5. Silicone Tape
This is a fairly recent method that doctors can use to minimize larger scars. This tape helps prevent the overproduction of collagen by creating a moist, yet safe, environment for the wound to heal. Most plastic surgeons will use this for more invasive surgeries, but ask yours about it in your initial consultation.
6. Non-Surgical Cosmetic Treatments
If you have developed a few scars as a result of plastic surgery procedures, there are other, non-surgical cosmetic treatments that can help minimize, or in some cases eliminate their appearance. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) therapy can help eliminate redness and help a scar heal faster. Another option might be microdermabrasion, where your skin will essentially be “sandblasted”, smoothing the skin to allow a scar to better heal. It will take more than one treatment, depending on the size and severity of the scar, but you will definitely see an improvement after a few sessions.
Scars are unavoidable, that’s just a reality of surgery. There is no reason, however, that a scar needs to be overly visible, distracting from the positive results of the plastic surgery procedure that caused it. By hiring an experienced ISAPS surgeon, taking care of yourself post-surgery, and maybe taking advantage of some non-surgical skin procedures, you can rest assured that your scar will not overshadow your surgical results.