Keloid Scars – How to Get Rid of Them

Anyone who has ever experienced some form of trauma on their body knows it takes proper aftercare to keep the impacted area from getting infected or developing a scar (including a keloid scar). Patients who are not sure what causes a keloid scar, or how to prevent them, should read this informative article to get the inside scoop on keloid scars and how to get rid of them.

Keloid Scars – What are They?

In general, a keloid scar can be defined as an overgrowth of scar tissue that often spreads outside the boundaries of the original scar or injury to the body. Keloid scars are often visible as itchy, firm and/or painful bumps that are present at the site of an earlier injury to the skin. The earlier injury can be some form of trauma to the body as well as a piercing or lesion that is located on the body.

It should be noted that it takes some time for keloids to form on the body. They tend to take anywhere from three to six months to appear and these scars normally begin as a raised scar that is located on the surface of the skin. The keloid scar tends to grow slowly.

It is also important to realize that keloid scars should not be confused with other raised scars. Overall, keloid scars have around three times more collagen than raised, thick scars that are known as hypertrophic scars.

What is keloid scars

Keloid Scars – Who Can Get Them and Why?

While almost anyone can develop a keloid scar, there are some factors that can increase the chances of one developing on the body. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “About one-third of people who get keloids have a first-degree blood relative (mother, father, sister, brother, or child) who gets keloids. This family trait is most common in people of African or Asian descent.”

It is also recommended that people who are at a higher risk of developing keloids avoid having an elective procedure on an area of the body that is known for keloid formation (such as the chest and upper back). Even though keloids most often occur after a scar, there are also “spontaneous keloids” that can appear on skin that has not been injured. This most often happens to people who have a history of keloid formation, in their family or a personal experience, and it is highly likely that more than one keloid will present at the same time.

At the moment, it is not clear which mechanisms in the body cause some people to develop a scar in this manner. However, research has indicated that chronic inflammation can play a part in their formation.

Keloid Scars – How to Prevent Them from Forming

The ability to prevent keloid scars is difficult since there is not a lot of information on why some people get them and others do not after an injury. While there is not anything that can be done to prevent the occurrence of spontaneous keloids, there are some steps that can be taken to try and minimize the growth of these scars soon after an injury.

Proper wound care should be performed in order to prevent an infection. In addition, a scar sheet that is silicone-based should be applied as soon as possible to the wounded area on the body. In addition, the massaging of the scar tissue using a silicone gel is also helpful when trying to prevent a keloid scar from forming. If an ear piercing shows the skin in the piercing area is starting to thicken, the piercing should be removed and then replaced with a pressure earring.

Keloid Scars – Getting Rid of Them

There are some suggestions for home remedies to heal keloids, but the best advice is to schedule an appointment with a medical professional who is experienced in treating this condition.

For example, many dermatologists offer steroid injections that, after multiple treatments, can decrease the amount of thickness of keloid scars. Plus, laser and light-based therapies such as CO2 lasers and LED light therapies have been shown to improve their appearance.

If someone thinks they have a keloid or they are afraid that one is going to occur, the patient should consult with a dermatologist in order to address the issue with proper medical treatment. It is hard to predict when they will happen, and it is also hard to sometimes determine the extent of the keloid scar. An experienced doctor can examine the impacted area in order to determine the best course of action in treating the scarring.

There have even been some instances where resistant keloids have been treated via intralesional treatments with surgery, off-label chemotherapy products and radiation therapy to address the issue. These are

serious treatment options that need to be discussed with a medical professional before a final decision is made about utilizing them to address the keloid scarring on the skin.

Collagen Injections for Scars

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and it is found in the skin, bones, and cartilage of a person. Patients often decide to have collagen injections in order to replenish the natural collagen in the skin as well as treat the appearance of scars on the body.

Let’s take a look at what is involved in collagen injections and how they can help reduce and improve the appearance of scars.

Collagen Injections Explained

In general, collagen injections are a cosmetic procedure that is performed by placing collagen under the skin to give the treated area a smoother and plumper appearance. The collagen injection can be made of human collagen, or it can be made of bovine collagen. In addition to improving the appearance of scars, collagen can provide a smoother and more youthful look to facial areas such as the eyes (crow’s feet), forehead and mouth (frown lines).

Collagen Injections for Scars – Options for Patients

In the past, patients with scars had to either live with them or they had to undergo a surgical procedure to remove the scar. The good news is that scars can often be corrected with collagen injections.

Bellafill is a long-lasting dermal filler that has been approved for the treatment of some scars. Bellafill is made of collagen from cows (bovine collagen) and the injection of Bellafill adds missing volume to lift the skin. In addition, the injection adds small Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) beads to provide additional support to the skin. The collagen will eventually be reabsorbed by the body, but the PMMA beads remain to support the skin and promote the development of further collagen. The patient must not have an allergy to bovine collagen, and it is available for both male and female patients.

Collagen injections are considered to be soft tissue fillers and they are an ideal option for improving the appearance of hollow or sunken (depressed) scars. The injection stimulates the growth of collagen and it also elevates the skin depression that results from the scar.

Collagen injections for scars

Collagen Injections – How Long Do They Last?

While collagen injections are considered to be permanent, the final results have been reported to last for up to five years. The final results can be prolonged if the patient decides to have follow-up treatments/additional injections before the five-year period is over. Some patients decide to have treatment once or twice per year to maintain the results.

Either way, additional treatments will be necessary in order to maintain the desired look to the scar that is treated with a collagen injection.

Collagen Injections – How Long does it Take for the Results to Appear

The effects of collagen injections are visible almost immediately but keep in mind that it can often take several weeks or months to gain the final results. The immediate changes are welcomed by patients who want to walk out of their appointment with skin that has a radiant and more youthful appearance.

Collagen Injections – Are There any Risks?

The doctor will administer a skin test before injecting the collagen which means serious reactions to the treatment are very rare. However, there are some possible side effects that are often found with other cosmetic procedures:

  • Redness of the skin
  • Infection located at the site of the injection
  • Discomfort
  • Skin rash
  • Itching
  • Lumpy skin

The collagen treatments can be placed in multiple areas of the body. The part of the body chosen by the patient is often one where a scar is visible to others. They usually want to lessen or reduce the visibility of the scar as they are often self-conscious about its appearance on the body.

There are several steps patients can take to minimize any possible risks.  The first step was mentioned earlier which is undergoing a test to make sure there is no allergy to the collagen injection.

Patients should make sure to visit a licensed and experienced medical provider when choosing a doctor. They should read actual patient reviews and ask questions when they meet with the doctor. Addressing any questions or concerns in advance will make the patient feel more confident about having the treatment.

Patients should never attempt to perform the treatment on their own body with collagen fillers that they purchased from another source, they should closely follow any post-treatment instructions provided by the doctor to ensure an easy recovery and optimal results. Call the doctor right away if the side effects are more severe than expected.

While the risks are normally not very severe, patients should still monitor their recovery and contact the doctor if they have any additional concerns or conditions that appear after the collagen injections are performed. It is important for the patient to keep in contact with the doctor as the medical professional can answer questions, prescribe a treatment plan and help the patient to successfully treat any side effects.

Different Scars and Four Natural Ways to Treat Them

Everyone has scars but they often react differently to having them on the body. Some consider their scars to be cool and something to be proud of while others are embarrassed and want to hide them from the view of others. Whether you are self-conscious about your scars or do not mind displaying them, the fact is many people seek treatment to try and get rid of them. Almost everyone would want to reduce or remove a scar, but they need to understand what a scar really is and the way to approach removing them.

Scars – How do They Form?

A scar is formed due to the natural healing process of the body after an injury. The layer of skin known as the dermis forms collagen fibers to repair any damage done to it. The formation of those fibers results in your scar. Most scars follow the rule of the faster the wound heals, the less collagen fibers there will be, which means a less noticeable scar. To go along with this, the severity of the scar is usually dependent on the severity of the injury to the body. There is also the variable of how scars form differently based on different parts of the body and based on the age of the injured person.

Types of Scars

  • Learn how scars are formed and natural methods to treat themAtrophic scars are defined by the loss of tissue on the skin of the injured person. They can appear in different ways including depressed or flat against the upper layer of the skin. If you see a scar with darker skin pigmentation than other areas of the skin, it might be an atrophic scar. A couple of examples of atrophic scars are acne scars and chickenpox scars.
  • Hypertrophic scars can be identified by excess tissue that forms over the injured skin as it heals. As with an atrophic scar, hypertrophic scars are typically darker than the other skin in the surrounding area of the body.
  • Keloid scars, like hypertrophic scars, involve too much tissue formation. Keloid scars are what happens when aggressive healing causes an overproduction of tissue. They can be identified by a thick, puffy, or raised appearance and are normally darker than the pigment in the surrounding area. One of the unique things about a keloid scar is that it can grow beyond the initial injured area of the body.
  • Contracture scars are most commonly formed after suffering burns on the body. They involve lots of areas of the skin being damaged or lost completely. They can be identified by shiny, tight skin that can restrict movement in the injured part of the body.

Top Four Easy Fixes for Scars

How to reduce scar appearance at homeScars will become naturally lighter over time, but they will never fully disappear. However, there are many efficient treatments to help speed up the healing process. The following four remedies have helped people in making their scars less noticeable:

  1. Aloe vera should be applied directly to the scar, using circular motions, after removing the dark green “skin” from the flat side of the aloe vera leaf and scooping out the light green gel. Once 30 minutes goes by, remove the gel by washing it off with cool water. Patients should repeat this process twice each day.
  2. Vitamin E should come in a capsule so cut open the capsule and squeeze the Vitamin E oil onto the scar. Massage the oil on, and around, the area of the injured skin/scar for about ten minutes. After this, wait approximately 20 minutes and wash off the oil with warm water. Patients should repeat this whole process a minimum of three times a day.
  3. Believe it or not, a household potato can help treat the appearance of scars. First, slice the potato into medium-sized rounds and then rub the potato slice on the scar in light, circular motions. The potato slice will eventually dry out. When it does, simply throw it away and continue with another slice. Continue the rubbing for about 20 minutes and then let the scar “air-dry” for about 10 minutes. Finally, wash the injured area with cool water. This process should be performed at least one time per day.
  4. Another easy household item that can be used on scars is baking soda. For this technique, mix distilled water into two tablespoons of baking soda until it forms a paste. Wet the injured area with the distilled water and then rub the paste on top of the wet scar. Hold the paste on the scar continuously for about 15 minutes and then rinse the area surrounding the scar. This process should be performed once per day.

Scars and Natural Remedies

Natural remedies are a great way to make a scar look less noticeable in an easy, efficient, and healthy way. Many experts believe in the healing power of natural remedies. They also recommend having a conversation with a board-certified doctor before attempting to perform home remedies.

Beverly Hills Reality TV Star Embraces Life and Her Scar

Scars are part of life but they can be considered unsightly to most people. This is especially true when they happen to a celebrity figure. Celebrities are known to have the brightest smiles, flowing hair and flawless skin. Yet, a scar can change a person’s life and even the career of a person. However, scars can also be a reminder of survival from a trauma or surgery. One Beverly Hills reality TV star experienced a terrible ordeal and lived to tell about it. Not only that, she learned to embrace her life and the scar that came from that fateful night.

Beverly Hills Star's Scar

Shortly after Katie Maloney started working at Sexy Unique Restaurant (SUR) on Vanderpump Rules in November of 2009, she fell through a skylight during a party. The drop was nearly three stories as she smashed through a plate-glass window and toppled down a flight of stairs. Katie suffered cuts, bruises, a broken jaw, a broken collarbone and minor brain injury. It was a miracle that she survived this horrendous accident and was able to move on with her life. Her husband, Tom Schwartz, told Bravo TV that he celebrates her life every year on the anniversary of her accident.

Unfortunately, the eyes of the public and other celebrity figures are not always kind. Designer Kevin Lee, who is one of Lisa Vanderpump’s friends, verbally bashed Katie’s appearance on an episode of Vanderpump Rules. During the show, the group was at a magazine party and Kevin called out Katie’s weight. However, Katie’s castmates and friends had her back. Lisa Vanderpump referred to Katie as one of the most beautiful girls in the restaurant. That night, Lisa even tweeted words of encouragement to Katie. The tweet was followed by words of praise from friends and fans from all over the world.

The physical body does not always show the emotional trauma that some carry with them after an accident. Thankfully, some people are able to look past the changes to the body and accept the scars that life gives them. Katie feels that cheating death put everything into perspective for her. While she could go to a doctor and have scar revision surgery, she feels that the surgery would erase this monumental moment in her life. Katie has also stated that she likes her scar because it gives her character. She even considers it a badge of honor that shows she is still here.

Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Learned to Love her Scars

Scars can appear red, raised, flat or depressed and can be treated with different scar revision techniques. While nobody really likes scar tissue after surgery, the body repairs itself after an injury or surgery by sending collagen fibers to the area. The result is usually a scar. In essence, a scar means that the body has healed itself by sending a “shield” to protect the rest of the body from infection or further damage. Scars are not always welcome but some people do learn to love their scars.

Real Housewife Medical Diagnosis

Camille Grammer, from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills When Camille Grammer, one of the stars of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, learned she had cancer for a second time, she revealed her diagnosis to her followers on Instagram. She included a thank you note to her doctor as well as a warning to women. “Thank you Dr. Beth Karlan for removing those pesky cancer cells. You are amazing!” Camille posted a photo of herself and her doctor at the hospital, “This is my second cancer diagnosis. Thank God, we found it early. (squamous cell carcinoma).” Camille continued by saying, “Early detection is key. My cancer was removed and I’m resting at home.” She went on to say, “Ladies listen to your bodies. If something doesn’t seem right go for a checkup. Don’t put it off. Annual checkups are important.”

The Gift of Life

This Real Housewife star, and mother of two, was already a survivor of stage two endometrial cancer which required an aggressive hysterectomy and chemo therapy. In September 2016, Camille recounted her struggle with that disease and her own self-confidence. Thankfully, she eventually learned to love her scars. She remarked that after a hysterectomy, women don’t feel very feminine. She was embarrassed of her scars at first but she now considers them a part of what she has been through. She now considers herself a survivor and a warrior.

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Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeons Discuss Scars and Healing After Surgery

Scars after surgeryWhen it comes to plastic surgery, the scars after the procedure vary from person to person. There are many factors which influence healing after surgery and the way we scar. The type of scar is partially based on age and genetics. While younger patients have healthier and tighter skin, this can create added tension on the scar. Older patients have skin that is lax but that doesn’t mean they necessarily heal easier. Some ethnicities, such as African Americans and Asians, have thicker skin and are more prone to developing thicker scars that are raised. Over time, surgeons have learned how to minimize the development of scars and efficient ways to treat them.

Scar Location

The location of the incision, or injury, will greatly affect how a wound heals and the type of scarring that occurs. Dr. John Layke, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, told newbeauty.com, “There are certain areas of the body that tend to heal poorly—over a joint, in the back, and in an area called the chest box—in between the nipples up to the clavicles. Procedures that are over a joint or the ones that cause the most tension will lead to more scarring—any procedure that tries to lift while the body is pushing outward. For example, a lift with an implant. The implant is pushing outward, but the lift is pulling inward, so there’s that push/pull relationship that causes tension.” Scars that don’t heal properly, or are positioned over a joint and causing restricted movement, may require scar revision to help regain a range of motion.

Tension

According to Dr. Payman Danielpour, also a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, “Tension is the single most important factor in wound healing. Incisions that are under a lot of tension have a higher chance of widening, and therefore, healing with a poorer aesthetic outcome.” He went on to tell newbeauty.com, “That is why when choosing incisional options, we place incisions in areas that have the least tension. The more tension the incision has, the higher chance it will want to split apart and therefore widen and heal with a hypertrophic [raised] scar, which is aesthetically unappealing.” Many doctors say this is very important during the early stages of wound healing. It is important for patients to follow their recovery guidelines and not do things that might pull on the incision, or newly healed scar, to cause further tension.

Silicone Sheeting

Along with following post-surgical recommendations, the surgeon may advise patients to use a silicone dressing to help the scar heal better. Silicone sheeting has been proven to help reduce scar formation and reduce the appearance of a raised, red scar. Silicone sheets cause an amount of pressure that can help flatten some scars. They also lock in moisture and help the scar heal. “Embrace” is a silicone dressing which combines tension relief, to protect the wound from body movement, and silicone to hydrate the tissue. Be sure to follow any instructions from the doctor on when, and how, to apply silicone sheeting for a flatter and less noticeable scar.

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How to Reduce Scars after Breast Surgery?

Scars on the breasts can occur from a biopsy, lumpectomy, mastectomy or implants. There are many different types of scars and each scar can appear pink or red in color as well as thick or bumpy. Patients must also understand the trauma inflicted on the tissue, during a surgical procedure, can also create scarring on the inside. While scarring on the outside will fade over time, the fibrous tissue on the inside may cause lumpiness, tightness or discomfort. However, there are some ways to reduce scarring on the breasts that patients can discuss with their doctor.

Surgical scar after breast surgery

Silicone Treatments

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, silicone-based bandages or sheeting can reduce the density of a scar. However, this treatment should be used daily for best results. Silicone creams and gels may also be beneficial to treat scar tissue and may be easier to apply on the breasts.

Scar Tissue Massage

Approximately 2 weeks after breast surgery, or when the incisions have healed, patients may begin massaging the scar tissue with lotion, oils or creams. Scar tissue massage can help remove built-up collagen from the surgical site for a flatter, more flexible scar. Scar massaging also alleviates lumpiness and the itchy sensation most scars have. Apply gentle pressure with two or more fingers along the scar, and in the surrounding areas, to see the best results.

Cortisone Treatments

Daily use of cortisone cream or creams containing cortisone can help shrink the size of a scar. However, the wound should be fully healed before using this type of topical medication.

Pressure Bandages

The American Academy of Dermatology states that using pressure bandages can help flatten hypertrophic scars. However, this method also requires daily use and can take several months before results are seen.

Vitamin E

Taking a daily supplement of vitamin E may help to reduce the amount of scar tissue that can form around the implant. Its powerful antioxidant abilities can repair damaged skin and fight inflammation. Vitamin E can also be found in certain oils, grains, nuts and wheat germ. It can also be found in liquid form and/or many skin care creams.

Avoid the Sun

Avoid sun exposure to new scars since the UV rays can slow the healing process and cause a dark discoloration. Furthermore, the new skin is extremely sensitive and can burn easily. Therefore, patients should apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher whenever going outdoors.

Laser Therapy

If a scar does not heal properly, patients may be able to reduce a scar via laser treatment. Laser therapy works by removing the outer layers of skin to promote new cell growth and a smoother texture.

Surgically Removed

Deep scarring, which cannot be remedied with tissue massage or other methods, may need to be surgically removed. Scar tissue that becomes so bad that it squeezes the implant and causes pain, or a shifting of the implant, is called capsular contracture. The surgeon will need to excise the scar tissue and may need to replace the implant.

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What is Laser Scar Removal?

Scars are the way the body naturally repairs the skin from an injury, burn, bite, acne or surgery. While everyone wants the healing, nobody wants the scars. Laser scar removal uses laser technology to improve or minimize the appearance of a scar. There are various lasers available to treat a wide range of skin and scar types. A plastic surgeon, or certified dermatologist who specializes in laser scar removal, can help you determine which type of scar treatment is best for you.

Scar removal by laser

Types of Laser Treatments

Laser Resurfacing involves using a high-powered laser to minimize the appearance of the scar by removing the top layers of skin. The procedure can be performed as an outpatient procedure in a skin laser clinic or doctor’s office and only takes between 1 and 2 hours. A local anesthetic numbs the area and goggles will be placed over the eyes to protect them from the bright light. During the procedure, the doctor will move the hand-held laser wand over the scar to remove the damaged skin cells. Each pass of the laser eradicates more cells. As the laser penetrates the scar, it also reaches the middle layers of skin and can provide smoother, tighter skin.

The doctor may choose between two skin resurfacing lasers and they are the CO2 laser or the Erbium: YAG laser. Both lasers work well for most scars including acne scars.

  • The CO2 laser is more powerful than the Erbium: YAG laser and can penetrate far deeper into the skin. This type of laser is best for removing thick and deep scars. The procedure can be slightly more painful and the recovery time is a little longer at about 2 weeks.
  • Erbium: YAG laser is often used to treat shallow scars. Since it is not as powerful as the CO2 laser, there is less sedation needed and less pain. Furthermore, the recovery time is also minimized at about 1 week.

Fractionated laser resurfacing uses tiny beams of light which penetrate deep into the skin. The laser causes microscopic holes where the damaged skin cells used to be. These holes stimulate collagen production and the creation of fresh, new skin cells. This type of laser allows for a quicker recovery since the surrounding skin is left unharmed. Because it is a less invasive technique, this type of procedure only requires topical anesthetic. Plus, there is little to no recovery time. On the other hand, fractionated laser resurfacing cannot produce the same immediate results that laser resurfacing can provide. Therefore, additional procedures will be needed for best results. You may need 3 to 5 sessions at one week apart.

Non-ablative laser resurfacing involves using infrared lasers to heat the inner layers of skin to encourage collagen production and produce fresh skin cells to replace the damaged cells on the scar. The heat from the procedure can be slightly painful, as the laser moves across the scar, but a cooling spray will be released with each pass. This cooling spray prevents any damage to the surface of the skin. This type of laser treatment can be done in a doctor’s office and only takes about 15 to 30 minutes per treatment. However, you may need 4 to 6 sessions to benefit from this type of laser and it can take months before you see the results.

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How To Avoid Scars

Unless you cloak yourself in bubble wrap and tape yourself to the couch, you will end up with a scar at some point. Precautions, such as wearing gloves when working in the garden or protective gear when bicycling, can help to circumvent scrapes and cuts which lead to scarring. It is strange to think that scarring is not supposed to be a bad thing. Scar tissue is the body’s way of healing itself after surgery or an injury but nobody is pleased to see a scar form. Scars that are raised, red, itchy or wide may need a form of scar revision to minimize their appearance. However, the best way to avoid a scar is to treat the wound properly. While a doctor will establish proper wound care for a surgical scar, here are some tips to help you avoid scar development:

  • Cleanse the Wound

Wound Care to Avoid ScarsIt is very important to keep the wound properly cleansed. Gently wash the wound with a mild soap and lukewarm water to get rid of germs and remove debris. If dirt and particles remain in the wound after a thorough washing, use tweezers to carefully remove them. Be sure to clean the tweezers with alcohol before removing the fragments. A wound that is clean will heal quicker, neater and is less likely to develop into a scar than one that becomes infected. Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are not recommended since alcohol can be irritating to damaged skin and hydrogen peroxide destroys white blood cells needed to repair the wound.

  • Keep the Wound Moist

While some people say to let the wound have air so it can scab over, scabs are not our friends. Scabs allow scarring to occur so keeping the wound moist and covered is a better way to avoid scars. Moisture prevents a hard scab from being able to form since it slows the development of new tissue but it does allow cells to regenerate faster. If the wound is properly cleansed, don’t grab Neosporin or other ointments since they can impede wound cleansing. Instead, apply petroleum jelly to the wound and a bandage. Keeping the wound moist with petroleum jelly can keep the scar from becoming too large, deep or itchy. If a scab does form, do not pick at it. Otherwise, you are likely to get a worse scar.

  • Cover it Up

Research has shown that keeping a bandage on a wound speeds healing by as much as 50%. Cleanse the area, reapply ointment and change the bandage daily to keep the wound clean and free of infection as it heals. Anyone who has sensitive skin can use a non-adhesive gauze pad and paper tape. A large cut should be examined by a doctor to determine whether stitches are needed. However, you may be able to close small cuts or gaps with a butterfly bandage. Butterfly bandages can help keep a fresh wound closed for better healing and minimal scarring. These bandages can be found at most drugstores.

  • Consider Silicone Gel

If you have large scrapes, burns, sores or persistent redness, you may want to consider using silicone gel sheets or hydrogel. Silicone gel sheets can help to promote healing while minimizing scar formation. Silicone gel sheets can also be used after a scar has already formed. They can help to flatten raised scars and tone down redness and/or itchiness. Follow the directions on the package or the advice of a doctor for changing the gel sheet.

  • Eat Healthy and Exercise

Eating a balanced diet and getting exercise can help ward off scars. While protein and vitamins are essential to the body, getting adequate zinc is especially important for wound healing. Grab some roasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, Brazil nuts, lean beef or dark-meat turkey to help avoid scarring. Exercise can speed the healing process because exercise increases circulation and regulates the immune system and hormones that influence the healing process.

  • Apply Sunscreen Religiously

Once the wound has healed, frequently apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen whenever going outside. The sunscreen should be a SPF of 30 or more since scars are very vulnerable to sunburns. Scar tissue lacks the ability to develop a tan since it has less pigment than the surrounding skin. Furthermore, UV rays are known to slow healing since they interfere with new collagen production. Sunscreen may help to decrease red or brown discoloration and help the scar fade at a quicker rate.

Scar Tissue after Surgery

People often wonder what their scar is going to look like after surgery. Surgeons can give a general idea of the size, color and appearance of the scar but each person heals differently. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), scar tissue is usually thicker than the surrounding skin as well as pink or red in color. However, the appearance of a scar largely depends on the size and depth of the wound. Also, the age of the patient, location of the wound and the time it takes for the wound to heal are all aspects which can influence the look of the scar.

Understanding Scar Tissue

After Surgery ScarsAfter surgery, the body uses its ability to create scar tissue to heal the new wound. However, excess scar tissue beneath the skin can be troubling even after the wound has healed. The tough, fibrous tissue can cause pain and significantly reduce function or range of motion. This decrease in function may transpire due to the direction of the incision and/or the depth of the wound.

For example, bend and straighten the elbow. The folds that form in the skin are known as Langer’s lines. These lines characterize the direction and orientation of the collagen fibers. While making an incision parallel with the Langer lines can happen in some cases, it is not always possible. This is because most surgeries involve cutting into multiple layers of the anatomy. Each layer that is severed must be repaired. As the collagen fibers begin to rebuild, they tend to be erratic and can cause a tightening which can impede some functions. Likewise, surgery on the knees, wrists, shoulder or ankles is often meant to improve movement and function but scar tissue that forms around the joints can create the opposite effect. Frozen shoulder, a condition some patients experience after surgery, is a buildup of scar tissue around the shoulder joints that can cause irritation and inflammation. This can lead to post-surgical pain and impair the range of motion.

Abdominal and Pelvic Adhesions

Abdominal incisions, such as when a person has their appendix removed, can cause abdominal adhesions. Adhesions are bands of tissue which form between the abdominal tissues and the organs. These bands often cause the usual slippery internal tissues and organs to stick together. This can lead to a twisting and pulling of the small or large intestines which create bowel obstruction and chronic pain. Likewise, pelvic adhesions can form after gynecological surgery and cause pain and infertility in some cases. Using certain surgical techniques, such as creating adhesion barriers, can help reduce these pelvic adhesions. Therefore, patients are encouraged to ask their surgeon how they plan to minimize the risk of adhesions.

Scar Prevention and Treatment

Prior to any surgery, patients should ask how much scarring is expected and what type of preventative treatment is recommended. Anytime the patient is undergoing a procedure that involves surgically manipulating a joint area, the surgeon will recommend moving the joints immediately after surgery. This improves function and also helps to prevent excess scar tissue from forming. Patients are always advised to follow post-surgical recommendations and perform targeted exercises to help stretch the skin and guide joints back into the proper position. Massage therapy and ultrasound therapy may also be used to help soften scars and maintain motion after surgery. Although these scar prevention treatments can help to eliminate an accumulation of scar tissue in many patients, some people still develop debilitating scar tissue. Nevertheless, there are numerous scar treatment options which can improve or lessen the appearance of scars and help patients regain motion.

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