How to Minimize Post-Plastic Surgery Scarring

One of the biggest concerns for patients seeking cosmetic surgery is how to minimize the post-surgery scarring. Scarring is a natural process for the body to heal open wounds or cuts, characterized by the growth of new tissue and collagen that closes and seals the cut while cleaning out dead blood cells and skin in the form of a scab.

Minor infections are typically dealt with by the body’s immune system. During the early stages of healing, you may experience oozing of blood or clear liquid, which is a result of the body delivering a stream of white blood cells, protein, amino acids, and water to fight infection, rebuild the area, and keep it clean. When the oozing dries, it forms a scab that acts as a protective layer, and usually falls off when the wound has healed completely.Still, red or pink scar will be left behind, and start to fade to a flesh color with time.

The visibility of the scar depends on several factors including:

  • The size of the initial wound
  • The skin type, health, and age of the patient
  • How fast the wound heals
  • How well the wound is cared for while healing

While it is not possible to prevent scarring entirely, there are a few things you can do to aid in the fading process, minimize the appearance of scars, and ensure that the incisions heal cleanly and quickly.

Post Cosmetic Surgery Scarring Tips

1. Keep the incision site clean and protected.
Studies show that surgical wounds form layers across the point of incision within 48-72 hours. Until this layer forms, it is important that you keep the surgical dressing on, and dry. Afterwards, you can use clean water to gently rinse the area. Clean the wound daily, but avoid any rigorous cleaning as it may increase tension on the wound.

2. Keep the incision protected from the sun.
It is critical that you don’t expose your surgical incision to the sun for a minimum of one year after the surgery to prevent abnormal coloration (hyper-pigmentation) of the new tissue, which does not resemble the nearby skin. If you have to step into the sun, use sunscreen.

3. Massage the scar.
Research suggests that scar massage helps to address texture issues arising as the wound heals. Specifically, the mechanical forces loosen underlying scar tissue and increase circulation to the recovering tissues.

4. Avoid using creams or other topical products.
Many doctors are hesitant to recommend over-the-counter creams because there are insufficient studies into their effectiveness. That said, your doctor may recommend some ointments to use on the treated area, or silicone sheeting if you are resistant against keloid scars or hypertropic scarring.

5. Finally, watch out for complications.
If you discover something unusual, like severe pain around the incision, the site turns red and puffy, or a fever beyond 100.4 degrees, contact your plastic surgeon immediately.

History of Botox – Why It Gained Popularity

With over six million Botox treatments administered each year, Botox, or Botulinum toxin, injections are certainly the most popular cosmetic surgery in the world. Botox is used to reduce wrinkles and fine lines by paralyzing underlying muscles, though it can also be used to treat migraines, excessive sweating, muscular disorders, and some types of bladder/bowel disorders.

So, What is Botox?

Botox is made from a neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulinum bacterium called botulinum toxin. The bacterium exists in the natural environment in its inactive form, and can be found in cultivated soils, the forest, and in sediments of streams, lakes, coastal, or other untreated waters, as well as in the intestinal tracts of fish and mammals.

The bacteria and spores are harmless in their inactive form, but once they transform into vegetative cells and start multiplying, they start producing the highly poisonous neurotoxin responsible for botulism (a life-threatening illness) – botulinum toxin. The toxin is so poisonous that a couple of kilograms could kill the entire human population.

That said, botulinum toxin has been proven to be a valuable therapeutic protein when the dosage, frequency of administration, and variety of treated clinical conditions is put into consideration. It has medical applications to treat specific muscular conditions, as well as cosmetic applications for the removal of wrinkles by paralyzing muscles on a temporary basis.

History of Botox – Timeline

The bacterium – Clostridium botulinum – was first discovered in 1897 for causing food poisoning. Between the 1920s and ‘40s, scientists discovered that it was possible to purify the bacteria in crystalline form, and use it in small doses to relax overactive muscles and spasms. It was then used in experiments on monkeys in the 1970s, and then used on humans in the 1980s to treat eye disorders.

In 1989, the Botox substance was approved by the FDA as treatment for eye problems resulting from malfunctioning muscles, like strabismus (wandering eye), amblyopia (lazy eye), blepharospasm (twitching eye), and squinting. In the course of the treatments, eye specialists realized that when the drug was administered, the area around the eye seemed more relaxed and wrinkles less prominent.

In 2002, the FDA declared Botox safe for cosmetic use. So, it could now be used to improve the appearance of facial wrinkles under specific regulations. The effect lasts between 4 and 6 months.

The Popularity of Botox

By 2006, Botox had transformed into a billion dollar industry, and continues to be used for both cosmetic and medical purposes. In fact, it is expected to hit the $4 billion mark in the international market by 2018, with the US contributing about 50 percent. Its rapid growth can be attributed to the fact that is non-invasive, safer compared to surgery, and cost-effective, plus celebrities have relied on Botox injections to appear years younger on screen, boosting consumer confidence in the product.