Taking Care of Scars After Surgery

Dr. Atul Kesarwani is the medical director of the Cosmedical Rejuvenation Clinic. As a board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Kesarwani has 30+ years of experience in the field. Read more about Dr. Kesarwani >

 

All surgical procedures involve incisions, and these incision lines turn into scars. It’s totally natural. The way your scars form is primarily determined by how you heal and your biology. So, if you have a history of excessive scarring (e.g. keloids and hypertrophic scars) then any new scars that develop may turn that way as well. If you have a history of scars that turn faint and barely visible, then there’s a good chance that happens after surgery as well.

However, there are certain external factors that can affect the appearance of a scar. Here are the top 5 factors.

The Top 5 Factors That Affect Scar Visibility

  1. The way an incision line is sutured.
    How an incision is stitched up makes a big impact on the resulting scar. Less than ideal suturing methods lead to more scarring. This is why it’s important that any sutures placed in the skin are done very carefully and precisely. As a board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Kesarwani understands this and is meticulous at suturing.
  2. The more tension on the incision line, the more prominent the scar may develop.
    Tension can make scars look worse and increase the risk of re-opening (making a scar revision procedure necessary). During a tummy tuck, for example, Dr. Kesarwani places sutures in several layers of tissue, so that there is less tension on the skin where the scar becomes visible. This gives you a smoother, finer scar that’s less at risk of re-opening.
  3. Placing an incision in a highly visible location.
    In procedures like a tummy tuck and breast lift, it’s crucial that incision lines are placed in natural creases in the skin or in an areas that are hidden by clothing. That way, they won’t be easily seen when you go out. Another way to hide scars is to place incisions within areas like the belly button (for tummy tucks) or along the perimeter of the areola (for breast augmentation).
  4. Not following post-op instructions.
    Post-op instructions are designed to help you heal faster, so you can enjoy the results of your surgery sooner. When they’re not followed closely, patients are at a higher risk of developing complications. One of these complications is infection, which can delay healing and make scars larger and darker. Another is to protect scars from sun exposure, since UV can make scars darker permanently.
  5. Using recommended scar healing products.
    There are several silicone gel based products that work well on scars. These include Cica-Care, Dermatix and Kelo-Cote. You can start using these once the incision line has closed. Another treatment that helps reduce scars is Fraxel.

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