Post-Op Scar Care


The Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery surgeons are among the most accomplished physicians in the fields of cosmetic surgery, breast reconstruction and breast augmentation. However, even performed by world-class surgeons, every surgery involves a scar.

Sometimes surgical scars are large; sometimes they’re small. The eventual appearance of your scar will be determined by a number of factors independent of your surgeon’s skill.

Scar care plays a part in both your successful recovery and your happiness with your surgical results. Below, we provide an overview of factors that can influence scar development, as well as guidance on preventing and minimizing scarring.

Scarring Risk Factors

Age

Because of a natural decrease in collagen production, skin loses elasticity and plumpness as it ages. In combination with environmental and lifestyle factors like smoking, drinking, sun exposure and attention to skincare, this decline in collagen production means that skin heals more slowly as we get older. However, age has a silver lining, too. Scars that may be more obvious on younger skin can sometimes be concealed by natural signs of aging on older skin.

Race

Fair skin may display scars more readily than darker complexions, while African-Americans have a higher likelihood of forming keloid and hypertrophic scars (these terms refer to the body’s creation of excess scar tissue at an injury site).

Genetics

Your unique genetic inheritance also plays a part in how much your skin will scar. Chances are, you’re familiar with how much family members tend to scar. If you scar heavily, discuss this concern with your surgeon.

Incision Size and Depth

In general, the larger the incision, the larger the resulting scar. Longer, deeper incisions will also take longer to heal.

Smoking

If you’ve ever thought about quitting, now is the time. Smoking slows down the healing process and makes you more likely to scar. A significant portion of cosmetic surgeons will operate only on smokers who have quit completely for two full weeks.

Diet

What you eat has an impact on your skin’s regenerative ability. Pay special attention to eating lean proteins, including fish, meat, soy, and beans, while healing; increasing your protein intake will help your skin heal.

Chronic Illnesses

Patients with chronic illnesses, like diabetes, should take extra care to manage their illnesses carefully before undergoing surgery and during post-op recovery. For example, diabetics should avoid allowing blood sugar to spike, as this slows down healing.

Sun Exposure

If possible, keep your incision or scar out of the sun as you heal. Sun can penetrate through clothing, so if you’ll be outdoors, apply sunscreen even to incisions located under your clothes. If your incision is on your face, use a high-quality sunscreen and reapply promptly. Your surgeon can tell you when it’s safe to apply sunscreen to your incision (usually after sutures are removed, or the incision has closed).

Water

Stay hydrated as you heal! While drinking enough water is a helpful health focus for everyone, it’s especially important as your skin attempts to close.

Weight

Because subcutaneous (under-the-skin) fat can hinder your surgeon’s work as he or she closes your scar, obese or overweight patients may scar more.

Resting

Make sure that you follow your doctor’s advice to the letter when it comes to taking time off. Even if you feel well enough to return to work sooner than scheduled, it’s best to rest until you are 100% recovered. Being well-rested helps you heal, while tiring yourself out will have an adverse effect.

Attentive Wound Care

Use only the medications, including ointments and salves, that your surgeon prescribes. Change your wound dressing as advised to keep it bacteria-free.

Know the Signs of Infection

A red, itchy, and inflamed incision can be a sign of infection. Notify your surgeon immediately if you suspect that your incision might be infected.

Don’t Stress Your Incision

Avoid any activity that places stress on your incision — for example, bending, reaching or lifting. These movements may pull the sides of the incision away from each other, slowing its healing process and making a scar more likely.

In addition to taking the above precautions, patients with a greater risk of scarring may benefit from prescription and topical scar prevention options. We invite any patients with concerns about scarring to talk with us.


Consultation Request

To receive a consultation, request your appointment online and schedule your visit during one of the select times our surgeons have set aside exclusively for Web visitors.

Travel

Travel

Many of our patients fly in from all over the world. We have perfected the “fly-in patient” protocol, making it virtually possible for all prospective patients. Fly in alone or with loved ones, and we will walk you through a process that will ensure complete care and a comfortable, pleasant experience.