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Managing Scarring After Plastic Surgery

Posted in Botox

You probably remember this piece of elementary school trivia. The skin is the largest organ in the body. It’s sophisticated, pliable and strong. Above all, the skin is a living organ. But as diverse and tough as our skin is, it’s still susceptible to damage. As we age that damage can take the form of a scar.

How are Scars Formed?

As scary as the word sounds, scarring is an essential part of your body’s natural healing process. Following injury or damage to either the epidermis or dermis of the skin, the layer begins to heal itself by rebuilding the tissue around the damage. The rebuilding of tissues depends on how deep the damage is.

The healing process is closely followed by a rebuilding process. This happens at a cellular level. New collagen forms and blood vessels around the injury return to normal. This process doesn’t happen quickly—it’s why scars improve for upward of two years after the damage.

Also, a wound doesn’t become a scar until the skin has completely healed. There will always be some kind of visible evidence of damage. Parts like hair follicles and sweat glands do not grow back.

Know Your Scars

There are different types of scars that look, rebuild and appear in different areas of the body. Knowing how to treat a scar begins with knowing which kind it is.

  • Keloid Scars – Keloids are rounded, irregular clusters of scar tissue that grow at the side of a skin wound, but beyond the edges of the borders of the room. They form when collagen is produced after a wound has healed. These scars can appear anywhere on the body. They occur more often in darker-skinned people. Keloid scars may occur up to one year after the original trauma to the skin.
  • Contractures Scars – Contractures happen when a large area of skin is damaged and lost. The scar formation pulls the edges of the skin together, causing a tighter area of skin. The decrease in the size of the skin can affect the muscles, joints, and tendons underneath the skin. This type of scarring is rare but can cause a decrease in movement.
  • Hypertrophic Scars are similar to keloid scars, but their growth is confined within the boundaries of the original skin defect. These scars may also appear red. They are usually thick and elevated. Hypertrophic scars develop within weeks after injury to the skin. Hypertrophic scars may improve naturally, although this process may take up to a year or more.
  • Acne Scars – These are some of the most common types of scars. If you’ve had severe acne, you probably have the scars to prove it. There are many types of acne scars, ranging from deep pits to scars that are angular or wavelike in appearance. Treatment options depend on the types of acne scars you have.

Managing Plastic Surgery Scars

As surgeons, we know the importance of minimizing scarring after surgery. Because of the nature of skin, it’s inevitable that there will be scarring even after your body completely heals. Where that scaring occurs and how you take care of your skin after surgery is important in maintaining the beauty of your skin.

After an elective surgery on the face, abdomen or breasts, patients should apply a pressure garment to the scar site and firmly massage the scar several times a day. We suggest a series of in-office laser treatments to treat redness. There are several non-surgical skin procedures to choose from when you need to reduce discoloration and smoothen or tighten the skin.

Patients should play an active role in the healing process. It is crucial to avoid sun exposure and frequently use sunscreen, as any burning of the skin will cause additional redness and irritation.

Smoking decreases microcirculation and can severely delay the healing process. Most importantly, any itching, increased redness or significant change in a scar should prompt a call to your doctor.

Do you have any questions about scars? A qualified surgeon like Dr. Chris Livingston understands the anatomy of the skin and can develop a clinical plan of action to manage scarring and help you achieve the best result from your surgery. Call our office at 281.501.1812.