Reducing Post-operative Scarring

How to Reduce ScarsScarring after plastic surgery. For some prospective patients, it is the single consideration that is preventing them from undergoing the cosmetic surgery of their choice. While all surgical procedures will result in some degree of scarring, due to the incision that is made in the skin, the technique that is employed and post-operative care of the incision site can dramatically reduce the appearance of scars. For Dr. Vince Marin‘s San Diego patients, scars after plastic surgery are discreet, and in many cases, barely noticeable.

Surgical Technique

The surgical technique that is used during your surgery will determine the size and location of any plastic surgery scarring. For procedures such as breast augmentation, patients have some incisional options; Dr. Marin can place implants through an incision made in the crease of the breast, around the areola, or in the armpit. For most other cosmetic surgery procedures, the incisional approach will depend on your unique anatomical characteristics. During your pre-operative consultation, Dr. Marin will let you know where the surgical incision/s will be placed, and the estimated length of the incisions. This way, you can make an informed decision when deciding if the benefits of surgery outweigh the presence of scarring.

Week One – Keep the Incision Site Clean

The day you return home from surgery, it will not be necessary to check on the incision site, as Dr. Marin will clean the area to prevent infection and apply fresh, clean dressing. However, a day or two after surgery, the dressing may become loose, and eventually the area will require cleaning. Every day, you should check the incision site for signs of infection. If the dressing becomes loose before Dr. Marin has advised you to replace it, you can use medical tape to keep it in place.

If you are advised to clean the incision, wash your hands and use an unscented, anti-bacterial soap such as Dial, along with water. Gently clean the incision area using a soft towel, but do not vigorously rub the area. Avoid use of alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other products. Pat the area dry or let it air dry.

If you are advised to change your bandages, wash your hands and then gingerly remove the tape that is holding the dressing on.  Wash your hands again, and then apply clean dressing over the incision and hold in place with medical tape.

In some cases, Dr. Marin may have patients come into our office so the incision can be checked, cleaned, and re-bandaged.

Week Two or Three – Begin Scar Reduction Routine

When the incision has begun to close, you may begin to use products to minimize the appearance of scars. Check with Dr. Marin during your post-operative follow-up appointment to see if it is okay to start your scar reduction routine. This may include:

  • Daily use of scar reduction creams or ointments
  • Daily use of silicone sheeting
  • Avoiding the sun
  • Covering or liberally applying sunscreen on the scar when in the sun

Some patients may also choose to undergo non-surgical medical treatments such as microdermabrasion, IPL, or laser skin resurfacing to reduce the appearance of post-operative scarring.

Contact our practice to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Marin.

About the Author:

Dr. Vince Marin is a San Diego board-certified plastic surgeon specializes in cosmetic surgery of the face, nose, breast and body. If you wish to contact Dr. Marin, write to [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter!