Scar Care After Cosmetic Surgery
Scarring after cosmetic surgery like breast lift, tummy tuck and arm lift procedures is simply inevitable. Wherever an incision is made, a scar will form. Luckily, there are ways to reduce the appearance of scars after cosmetic surgery.
After surgery, scabbing will begin to surface as your body begins to heal itself. Once the scabbing is gone, the epidermal layer of the skin has healed yet thin scars become visible. During this phase of the healing process, the scar gradually thickens as underlying collagen is produced as a means of additional healing. To further facilitate the scar healing process, scar creams such as Mederma (with SPF) and ScarGuard MD are helpful.
One of the best ways to reduce scarring is to shield the scar from sun exposure as UV exposure can actually worsen the pigmentation of the scar. This is why Mederma with SPF is recommended as a first line of defense. Mederma and ScarGuard also help to improve the coloring and texture of the scar and can be applied as soon as scabbing has subsided. For best results, patients should use these creams consistently for 3 to 6 months following their procedure.
Laser Treatment for Scars
Although many cosmetic or plastic surgeons do not include laser treatment for scars in their procedure cost, we at Advanced Surgical Concepts typically include 4-6 laser scar treatments in the cost of procedures such as tummy tucks, breast lifts, breast augmentations and arm lifts. Three to four weeks after surgery, we begin treating our patients with a Vbeam laser wherever scarring is present. The Vbeam is a minimally invasive laser which emits intense yet gentle pulses of light to pigmented areas of the dermis. The V beam is so gentle that it does not require any anesthetic or pain medication. At the most, the patient may feel a short-lived “sting”. In most cases, we have found the Vbeam laser to be very effective at correcting scar pigmentation. Please note, due to the risk of pigmentation changes, individuals with dark skin may not be ideal candidates for laser treatments.
When V beam is not aggressive enough to tackle the appearance of a scar, we may suggest a more invasive laser treatment such as a fractionated YAG and CO2 laser. These lasers basically ablate, or vaporize, the skin one layer at a time. The damage inflicted by the laser stimulates the healing process which will eventually reveal a fresh new layer of skin. The more invasive the laser, however, the more downtime and pain associated with the procedure. The areas to be treated by the laser are cleaned and marked with a pen. A nerve block with a local anesthetic is usually used to numb the area before treatment. You may also be given a sedative or anti-anxiety medication.
Scar Revision Surgery
When treating scars, either from a cosmetic procedure, injury or previous surgery,we will try to exhaust all minimally- invasive solutions first. For older, more stubborn scars, however, scar revision surgery to reduce the appearance of the scar may be advised. Scar revision surgery is effective in reducing or decreasing the size of the scar.
Although all of these methods can be effective in reducing the appearance of scars, they cannot completely remove the scar. Therefore, it is important for the patient to accept scarring as a side-effect before undergoing any type of cosmetic surgery. To avoid more aggressive forms of scar reduction, it is important to treat scars with great care as soon as they surface.
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