POSTED 28th March 2017

Scar reduction – helping your skin to heal after surgery

Almost all plastic surgery procedures which involve cutting the skin will result in scarring. As experienced plastic surgeons, we always make incisions where they can be partially or fully hidden by underwear or clothing, and we keep them as small as possible.

In the case of facial surgery such as facelift or browlift, your scars can be easily concealed as they will be at your hairline or behind your ears. In the case of body surgery, such as a tummy tuck, your scars will be made low on your body but will span your abdomen. If you’re considering breast surgery, such as breast lift, breast enlargement or breast reduction, you will have scars beneath both breasts and possibly in a line running from beneath your breasts up to your nipples.

With rhinoplasty, incisions are made within the nose so that they can’t be seen. However, many patients now undergo open rhinoplasty, which also involves a small incision in the bridge of skin between the nostrils (columella). With eyelid surgery, very small sutures are used to close any incisions, and these are usually within the crease of the eyelid or near the lower lashes and scarring is rarely visible after a few weeks.

Take a look at our treatments pages where you will find specific information about the level of scarring you can expect with each procedure.

The healing process

Everyone’s body responds differently to surgery. While some people will find the healing process relatively quick and simple, with their scars barely visible after just a few weeks, others will find their skin takes longer to recover and that their scars remain more prominent.

The pre-surgery age and condition of your skin will affect how well you heal but even younger patients who still have lots of elasticity in their skin should expect to have permeant scarring.

How to help your skin heal

Scars cannot be avoided but they can be minimised. The following tips will help you to reduce the appearance of scars and to ensure a smooth recovery:

Rest – get plenty of rest in the immediate aftermath of surgery. This will ensure you do not over-stretch the affected skin or interfere with your stitches or sutures. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be immobile – some level of movement is good for the skin after surgery.

Follow guidance – for all of our major procedures, you’ll need a follow-up appointment for dressings to be removed. Please do follow our instructions in respect of dressings management as this will make a big difference to the healing process.

Hydrate and eat well – your skin needs to be nourished and hydrated, so make sure you drink plenty of water, and eat well to ensure your skin gets the vitamins it needs to recover.

Avoid touching your scars – don’t be tempted to touch your scars, even if they feel a little itchy (this is normal as your skin begins to heal). Touching your scars could cause an infection. It’s best to let your body do the healing by leaving your scars alone.

It may be helpful to use specific creams or ointments on your skin though we will provide tailored advice about this.

Read our General Aftercare pages for more information on recovering from surgery.