When it comes to plastic surgery, scars are often an inevitable part of the process. However, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that scars heal well and blend seamlessly with the surrounding skin. Plastic surgeons emphasize the importance of scar care both during and after surgery to achieve optimal results.
During surgery, surgeons do their best to minimize tension on the incision site. However, what patients do at home can play a significant role in the healing process. Activities such as lifting heavy objects or engaging in strenuous activities can increase tension and potentially lead to wound separation. It is advised to avoid lifting objects weighing more than ten pounds for the first six weeks after surgery. Compliance with post-operative instructions is crucial to avoid complications and promote proper healing.
In addition to minimizing physical strain, scar care involves the use of silicone gel or sheets. These products have been shown to decrease scarring by reducing inflammation and redness on the incisions. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions on which product to use and how to apply it. Massaging the scar twice a day can also help improve its appearance. It is important to continue using silicone gel and massaging the scar for at least twelve months, as scars can take this long to fully fade and mature. However, even three to six months of diligent scar care can yield noticeable improvements.
Sun protection is another essential aspect of scar care. Exposing a new scar to sunlight too early can lead to hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation, causing the scar to become either too dark or too light. It is recommended to minimize sun exposure to the scar for the first year. If the scar is in a visible area, protective clothing or sunscreen should be used to shield it from harmful UV rays.
While plastic surgery scars may initially be a concern for patients, proper scar care can lead to excellent healing and enhance the final surgical results. Following post-operative instructions, using silicone products, and protecting the scar from the sun can all contribute to a more seamless and inconspicuous scar. It is important to remember that scar healing is a gradual process that requires patience and commitment.