One of the biggest concerns for patients seeking cosmetic surgery is how to minimize the post-surgery scarring. Scarring is a natural process for the body to heal open wounds or cuts, characterized by the growth of new tissue and collagen that closes and seals the cut while cleaning out dead blood cells and skin in the form of a scab.
Minor infections are typically dealt with by the body’s immune system. During the early stages of healing, you may experience oozing of blood or clear liquid, which is a result of the body delivering a stream of white blood cells, protein, amino acids, and water to fight infection, rebuild the area, and keep it clean. When the oozing dries, it forms a scab that acts as a protective layer, and usually falls off when the wound has healed completely.Still, red or pink scar will be left behind, and start to fade to a flesh color with time.
The visibility of the scar depends on several factors including:
- The size of the initial wound
- The skin type, health, and age of the patient
- How fast the wound heals
- How well the wound is cared for while healing
While it is not possible to prevent scarring entirely, there are a few things you can do to aid in the fading process, minimize the appearance of scars, and ensure that the incisions heal cleanly and quickly.
Post Cosmetic Surgery Scarring Tips
1. Keep the incision site clean and protected.
Studies show that surgical wounds form layers across the point of incision within 48-72 hours. Until this layer forms, it is important that you keep the surgical dressing on, and dry. Afterwards, you can use clean water to gently rinse the area. Clean the wound daily, but avoid any rigorous cleaning as it may increase tension on the wound.
2. Keep the incision protected from the sun.
It is critical that you don’t expose your surgical incision to the sun for a minimum of one year after the surgery to prevent abnormal coloration (hyper-pigmentation) of the new tissue, which does not resemble the nearby skin. If you have to step into the sun, use sunscreen.
3. Massage the scar.
Research suggests that scar massage helps to address texture issues arising as the wound heals. Specifically, the mechanical forces loosen underlying scar tissue and increase circulation to the recovering tissues.
4. Avoid using creams or other topical products.
Many doctors are hesitant to recommend over-the-counter creams because there are insufficient studies into their effectiveness. That said, your doctor may recommend some ointments to use on the treated area, or silicone sheeting if you are resistant against keloid scars or hypertropic scarring.
5. Finally, watch out for complications.
If you discover something unusual, like severe pain around the incision, the site turns red and puffy, or a fever beyond 100.4 degrees, contact your plastic surgeon immediately.