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How to minimize scarring after plastic surgery

How to minimize scarring after plastic surgery

Charlotte, Lake Norman, Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville cosmetic surgeon

If you’ve chosen to have plastic surgery, then you care about your appearance. Many of our patients are concerned about how their scars will look. No one wants to go through the process of having a surgical procedure, only to be left with an unattractive scar.

Any surgical procedure will inevitably leave some sort of a scar, and there’s no way to completely prevent this. However, the actions that you take during your postsurgical period will make a big difference in how your scars end up looking. If you take good care of your incisions, then chances are that your scars will be very discreet once the healing period is complete. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

Avoid sun exposure

Any sun exposure to an incision while it’s healing can lead to a darkening of the scar, which can even be permanent. It’s very important to avoid sun exposure while your scar is still healing. Sun exposure will have the most impact early in the healing process, but until the scar is fully mature (in about a year), sunlight could have an effect.

It’s best to cover your incisions as much as you can while they’re healing. It can be very tempting to want to show off your new body right away, but the more you can keep the incisions out of the sun, the better. Keep this in mind when you’re planning your procedure – you won’t want to have plastic surgery a few weeks before you have a beach vacation planned.

Keep the incisions clean

Any infection in the incisions while they’re healing can cause the resulting scar to be wider and more obvious. It’s very important to prevent any infections from developing in the incision sites. Make sure that you follow your postsurgical instructions exactly – for example, take any antibiotics exactly as prescribed, and finish out the full course. Also, keep your incisions clean and try not to expose them to sweat or dirt. This will help to minimize the risk of infections.

If you do notice any signs of infection, like redness and swelling around the incision or thick fluid leaking out of it, it’s important to let Dr. Miles know right away. The sooner you get antibiotics to treat the infection, the less effect it will ultimately have on your results. If you have any suspicion about an infection, don’t hesitate to tell us immediately.

Don’t put tension on your incisions

Anything that pulls the two sides of the incision apart from each other will tend to cause the scar to widen. It’s important to avoid putting tension on the incision so that this doesn’t happen. You’ll get special dressings for the incisions that are designed to help reduce the tension on them, but how you position your body also matters. Dr. Miles also offers and recommends Silagen silicone strips to help reduce the tension on the scars.  This scar treatment is offered in his office and comes in the form of silicone strips and silicone gel. 

The specifics of what you need to pay attention to can vary – for example, a tummy tuck patient may need to be careful not to stand up straight or bend backwards for a period of time after surgery. You’ll get detailed instructions on how to avoid putting too much tension on your incisions at the time of your procedure, so make sure you’re diligent about following those.

Avoid strenuous exercise for the first few weeks

Exercising too soon after your procedure can put strain on your incisions, and can sometimes even cause them to open back up. Make sure you take the recommended time off from strenuous exercise. This will give your body time to recover and heal, and will minimize the risk of damaging your incisions.

Take care with water

It’s important to avoid soaking your incisions in water while they’re in the early phases of healing. This could expose them to a risk of infection, especially in the first few days. In addition, when the skin stays wet for a period of time, then it softens and has a harder time healing well. You’ll need to avoid swimming and stick to showers rather than baths until your incisions have healed enough that this is no longer a concern.

Stay as healthy as you can

In order for your incisions to heal well, you’ll want to give your body everything that it needs. Make sure that you’re sleeping enough, eating well, and drinking enough water. Give yourself plenty of time to rest. Make sure that you don’t smoke or vape – the chemicals will interfere with your healing process and affect how your scars ultimately look.

Charlotte, Lake Norman, Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville cosmetic surgeon

If you take good care of your incisions while they’re healing, you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of discreet scars. Another very important factor is the skill of your plastic surgeon. The specific placement of the incisions is important in determining how well they heal and how well-hidden they are. This is why choosing an expert plastic surgeon with many years of experience is so important.

If you’re considering any cosmetic surgical procedure, we invite you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Miles. With many years of experience as well as specialized training, he’s highly regarded for his technical skills, as well as his suturing skills. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation, to discuss any procedure that you might be considering.

Dr. Erik J. Miles
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