Put simply, yes.
Any surgery that involves an incision will inevitably leave a scar – the formation of scars is a normal part of your body’s healing process.
The good news is, the final appearance of your scar can be positively influenced by a number of factors.
Expert surgical skills and techniques
One of the many benefits of coming to Adelaide Plastic Surgery is the comfort of knowing our surgeons are all qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeons. Their many years of surgical training has allowed each surgeon to gain specialist techniques that can help improve the appearance of your scar, including:
- Meticulous tissue handling to minimise trauma. Less inflammation in the area means you are less likely to form raised hypertrophic and/or keloid scars.
- The use of fine surgical instruments and sutures to allow accurate and precise incisions.
- Internal suturing when available to help keep tension off the wound and prevent skin stretching.
- Careful thought when choosing the location and direction of incision lines. When possible, our surgeons will place incision sites where they can be naturally camouflaged by the body, such as the crease of the breast, behind the ears, in the hairline or on the lower abdomen. They are also mindful of the direction of incisions near areas of movement, to prevent unnecessary pulling and tension.
Post-operative scar management
As a practice we offer a number of strategies to help your scar heal as discreetly as possible, including laser treatments and the use of post-operative dressings. We have an extensive range of silicon products available to our patients, including tapes, dressings and gels, which provide an optimal environment for wound healing. These products form a flexible barrier over the skin to keep the area hydrated, prevent excess collagen production, reduce inflammatory response and discourage keloid and/or hypertrophic scarring.
Once your incision site has fully healed, our Excel V vascular laser can be used to remove any residual redness, helping to keep your scars appearance as close as possible to the surrounding skin.
In instances where the scar is thick and raised, your surgeon may suggest scar revision surgery or a steroid injection – both of which work to improve the overall appearance of your scar, either by softening and flattening the existing scar, or by removing the problematic scar tissue. Your surgeon will be happy to discuss your scar management options with you, and can recommend a treatment plan best suited to you and your individual needs.
Is there anything I can do to help?
Absolutely! After surgery it is important to follow your discharge instructions specific to you and your procedure. Keeping your incision lines taped with a breathable dressing, such as Hypafix® tape, will encourage your scar to heal flat and prevent skin stretching. Once your wound has fully healed, your surgeon will recommend massaging the scar with non-perfumed moisturiser or oil. This is an effective scar management tool and can be easily done yourself – massaging encourages the area to heal smooth and flat, and will prevent scar tethering (when the scar tissue attaches itself to deeper layers of the skin causing a tight ‘puckered’ appearance).
Some areas of the body are known to scar more noticeably than others, such as the chest, ears, and areas of the body under constant movement (due to bending and pulling of the skin). Some people also have a genetic predisposition to keloid and/or hypertrophic scarring, despite using expert techniques and scar management tools.
Ultimately, the best thing for your scar is time and patience – your scars will continue to heal and improve day by day!
In the meantime, our team is here to answer any questions you may have – contact us on (08) 8213 1800 and speak with one of our helpful practice nurses.
We’re all about you, your journey, your way.
This article was co-authored by Dr Anthony Porter, Specialist Plastic Surgeon and Jo Herreen, RN