Stephen McCulley, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon. MBChb, FCS(SA)Plast, FRCS(plast)

Minimize Your Surgical Scar

When undergoing cosmetic surgery, it is normally to enhance or rectify a part of the body to help boost self-image and a feeling of confidence, for example breast enlargement surgery. What many people do not take into account when undergoing cosmetic surgery is that there will be a scar that will need to heal for the first few weeks after completion of the operation. If both the scar and the patient’s whole body are looked after, the scar should begin to fade.

First things first, it is important to follow the aftercare tips that your surgeon has advised. Ensure the wound is kept clean and dry, and if there is any dressing on the wound it will need to be changed every one to two days to keep it clean. Once the wound has healed and formed a scar, there are a few ways to help minimize the look of it with both surgical and non-surgical methods.

Scar reduction surgery (commonly known as scar revision surgery) can be done in one of many ways. A popular choice is laser treatment–this can be undergone to resurface the area and in turn soften the scar tissue. Dermatography is another option, where a medical tattooing needle is used to inject flesh-coloured pigment to the scar and will camouflage it. The scar can also be surgically cut from the body and the skin replaced with a skin graft from a healthier area of the body.

A chemical peel could help reduce the uneven texture that a scar could bring to a body. As the peel is made up of acids such as glycolic acid, it is left for a few minutes on the affected area and then peeled off, taking any uneven skin with it.

When it comes to non-medical ways to reduce the look of a scar, there are many creams and ointments that allegedly smooth marks and scars into the body over time. Creams that have active ingredients such as vitamins E and C are very popular amongst post-operative patients and many swear by them. Cocoa butter has also been suggested to reduce the harsh appearance of marks, scars and stretch marks over time whilst adding valuable moisture to the skin. Cortisone creams could also help as they can both reduce redness and make scars slowly seem less and less visible.

Cosmetic surgery can be the one procedure a person needs to get that much-needed boost of self-esteem, however they must make sure the short-term scars of their operation heal before the long-term benefits can be truly reaped.

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