When 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.
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.
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.
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.