Plastic surgery is a personal choice that some people make to look and feel better. Popular plastic surgery procedures include breast augmentations, tummy tucks, face lifts, and arm fat reductions.
However, after the desired result is achieved, there are typically scars that remain from the skin incisions.
Depending on the locations and sizes of their scars, patients differ in their reactions to their scarred skin.
Some patients don’t mind and are happy with their results. Others, however, want the scars to vanish and want their new body to have the same, unscarred skin as before.
There are some things you can do to help fade scars.
Scar Formation And Healing
After the initial surgery and healing, scars go through a process of thickening, formation, and contraction. This happens as the body accommodates and adapts to the new, thicker skin as opposed to the initial softer tissue. This generally takes place about 3 weeks after surgery and can last as long as 6 months.
In the healing phase of the scar, it’s important to keep the scar moisturized and sterile (with antibiotic ointment and hydrogen peroxide). The scar should also be protected with strips or bandages. Pressure strips (or even light massaging around the area) and hydration are key at this point in the process to help the scar heal more quickly.
During this time, a scar that was light may now appear darker and thicker as compared to its original appearance. After this window of about 6 months, the scar may fade a bit in color as blood vessels in this region may disappear. During this phase, it is critical to reduce sun exposure to help reduce the risk of permanent dark skin discoloration.
Scar Treatment Post Cosmetic Surgery
After surgery, you have a few options to help expedite healing and reduce scarring.
==>Over The Counter (OTC) Scar Creams And Ointments. Check with your surgeon if OTC topical scar creams or ointments are okay for you to use, and if so, when they should be applied. Some creams or ointments may have steroids or ingredients that might cause irritation or itching. Read the label carefully and check with your medical provider if you have questions. The best results typically come from scar treatment systems or kits that provide complete and comprehensive treatments that help promote skin cell rejuvenation, skin hydration, and therapeutic pressure on the wound. Scarology is the only scar treatment kit on the market that targets all 3 phases of wound healing as it includes a daily fruit acid exfoliator, a proprietary scar cream, and silicone scar sheets.
==>Surgical Or Slightly Invasive Options. Sometimes a scar may be too severe or deep for a topical cream to be effective and a skin graft may be recommended. This is a procedure where a surgeon will take healthy skin from one area of your body and apply it to another area. Other treatment options for severe scars may include excisions, dermabrasion or laser surgery.
Another treatment option, depending on the nature and severity of the scar, is an injection that contains steroids or collagen fillers to help smooth the skin.
Overall, it’s important for patients who are considering undergoing cosmetic surgery to look at before and after pictures of similar surgeries with their surgeon, discuss any questions about scarring and healing with their medical provider, and most importantly, have realistic expectations about the results.
After your surgery, talk with your doctor about things you can do to help facilitate healing and minimize scaring.
Just remember that scars do not mature until about 6 months after surgery so keep that in mind before you make any decisions about scar removal.
[Editor's Note: Elective cosmetic surgery is a personal decision. And as in all surgeries, there are always risks associated. You must weigh the potential benefits with the risks and decide what is right for you. Remember that part of the physical healing process is scarring. It's important to set realistic expectations, talk to your surgeon, and learn how to best minimize scarring for an optimal result. The Journal of Dermatology mentions that... in clinical studies "...The silicone gel sheets resulted in moderate improvement in scar thickness, scar color and was noted to be effective..." In addition, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons mention that "simple topical treatments" may "minimize the scar." If you're interested in a complete, easy-to-use, doctor created scar treatment system, Scarology's 3-Step system may be the option that is perfect for you.