Scarring After Surgery

All surgery that involves cutting through multiple layers of skin will result in a scar. A skilled surgeon will try to minimise the size and appearance of the scar with appropriate surgical techniques. However, the degree of scarring is mostly a result of factors outside of the patients control.

Scarring Factors

AGE

As we age, our skin loses collagen and elastin which causes a loss of volume. This is made worse by accumulative lifestyle factors such as sun damage, environmental exposure, and smoking.

COMPLEXION

Some complexions are more likely to scar than others. Darker skin tones are more prone to keloid or hypertrophic scars. However, scarring may be more noticeable on fairer skinned individuals.

SURGICAL INCISION

It goes without saying a small incision will leave a small scar, while a large incision will leave a large scar. The longer it takes your incisions to heal, the greater chance for scarring.

GENETICS

Sometimes healing can come down to genetics and your own body. Some people heal faster than others, while others may experience delayed healing.

Preventing Scars

  • Smoking: smoking increases your risk of scars because it delays healing by restricting blood flow. If you are a smoker and undergoing an elective cosmetic procedure, many surgeons will refuse to operate. We recommend no smoking for eight weeks prior and eight weeks after your operation.
  • Drinking: Alcohol dehydrates the skin and body.
  • Nutrition: Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in proteins. Protein is essential to a quick recovery. Protein can include meat, seafood, dairy, and soy products.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water. Limit tea and coffee which act as a diuretic and may dehydrate you.
  • Weight: The fat under your skin interfere with surgical wound closure after the operation.
  • Rest: Follow your post-operative instructions. Do not go back to activity sooner than recommended.
  • Identifying Infection: An infection can lead to scarring due to a delay in wound healing. Notify the clinic if you experience any red, heat, swelling, or pain around your incisions.
  • Chronic Illness: Certain illnesses can delay wound healing which results in greater scarring. Chronic illnesses should be well-controlled after surgery.
  • Stress on the Incisions: This comes back to following the post-operative instructions. Do not lift, bend, stretch or put tension on your incisions.
  • Sun Exposure: Avoid sun exposure and use appropriate SPF. The sun can cause hyper-pigmentation (darkening) of the scars.

Scar Therapy

Follow your post-operative care, do not use products that have not been recommended.

Recommended Scar Therapy Timeline

0 - 6 Weeks

After surgery, patients will usually be given a special tape called MICROPORE. This tape should be used after the last scheduled dressing change appointment. It is important to keep the incisions taped until six weeks post-operatively to prevent infection and help support the surgical incision – which will reduce scarring.

6 Weeks - 3 Months

  • For larger incisions, we recommend MEDISIL silicone tape. This tape is reusable and can be worn continuously for two weeks at a time. Use continuously for three months. This is particularly important for patients who have had a breast lift or a procedure with a larger surgical incision. Not only will it help scarring, but it will help support the areola and prevent re-stretching.
  • For smaller incisions, we recommend Strataderm Scar Gel. We recommend this product for patients who have had a straight-forward breast augmentation or patients who are unable to use MEDISIL.

3 Months - 1 Year

Use a good quality moisturiser over the incisions to keep the skin hydrated (we do not recommend bio oil). Avoid sun exposure. It will take approximately one year for the scars to fully heal and fade.

Information on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice