Tips to Minimize Post-Surgical Scars
Scarring is an unfortunate result of most surgical procedures. No matter how careful or skilled a surgeon is, there is no way to completely prevent the formation of post-surgical scars. And while you cannot prevent some post-surgical scars, there are some tips to help minimize their appearance.
Tip #1: Pick the Right Surgeon – Surgical technique plays a big role in how an incision will heal and scar. Choosing an experienced and qualified cosmetic surgeon like Dr. Nickodem in Annandale is important because you want a surgeon that knows how to place the incisions, how to handle the body’s tissues and how to close the incisions for the least noticeable scars.
Tip #2: Use Products as Instructed – After surgery, you may receive prescriptions for topical creams or ointments to apply to the surgical incision site. Use these products as instructed to keep the area clean and protect it from bacteria and infection.
Tip #3: Allow Yourself Plenty of Time to Heal – Surgical scars will look worse before they start to look better. Following your procedure, your scars will be red, raw and maybe even raised. This is entirely normal and not something to be overly concerned about. The best thing you can do for your scars during this time is to let them heal on their own and give the process plenty of time.
Tip #4: Don’t Pick Your Scabs – If your surgical wound area starts to scab, avoid picking at it. The scab is in place to protect the healing wound until it has closed up. Scabs fall off naturally when they are ready, and you do not need to pick at them or accelerate the process.
Tip #5: Choose a Nutritious Diet – Consuming a healthy diet is one of the easiest ways to help yourself recover and minimize the severity of any scarring. Protein, fiber and vitamin-rich foods, as well as proper hydration, all benefit your recovery, including the appearance of your scars. Foods that are high in these nutrients promote cell regeneration, reduce swelling and inflammation, and minimize the brightness of surgical scars. The goal is to fuel your body and boost your immune system with as many nutrients and antioxidants as possible.
Tip #6: Quit Smoking – During the healing process, the body is dependent on having an adequate blood supply and oxygen in the recovering tissue. People who smoke have less of both. Smokers are also at a greater risk for infection at the incision site; a previously infected incision will leave a more noticeable scar than one that has healed cleanly.
Tip #7: Stay Out of the Sun – This is especially important during the first few months after surgery, but at all times, patients should fully protect their scars from sun, either by using a physical block (such as a hat or SPF clothing) or sunblock (ideally SPF 50 or higher). The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are detrimental to the appearance of surgical scars. When incisions are exposed to UV rays during the healing process, they tend to darken and become more noticeable, and this damage is difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.To learn more about post-surgical scars and ways to minimize the appearance, contact Anne Nickodem, MD at 703-560-8711 or website.