July 22, 2024

Surgery scar

If you are worried about getting a surgery scar that is unsightly and makes you feel ugly, you have to understand that with surgery there is always a risk of getting a scar because everyone gets them. However, the degree and severity of the scar that each person gets depends on the type of surgery they are getting and how much damage the skin in fact sustains. This can also be governed by how good the surgeon is and what methods are put in place before, during and after surgery to lessen the degree and severity of your scarring. Obviously, if your surgeon is new and has less experience, the chances of higher degrees of scarring is more of a risk, but with more experienced surgeons, lower risks are not guaranteed either, though more likely. Does this mean that surgeons are responsible for getting scars? Realistically, scarring is part of the course with surgery because no matter how good the incision, even a tiny scar will be left behind because the skin has been damaged through multiple layers, something that cannot be prevented.

Who is most at risk for getting major scars? Well, that is easier to answer. There are many factors that can affect whether or not you will get a scar that is noticeable enough or bad enough for you to feel self-conscious about it. These factors include the following:

  • Age – the older you get the thinner and less elastic your skin becomes as the elastic collagen and fatty layers thin out over time; and you skin may not heal quickly or as well because of lifestyle problems, environmental exposure, smoking and sun exposure

  • Race – keloid and hypertrophic scars are predominant in darker skinned people, but scars on fair skin may be easier to see
  • Genetic tendencies – families that have a history of scarring easily, heavily and badly

  • Depth and size of the incision – larger ones leave bigger scars and smaller ones leave small to invisible scars; longer and deeper ones risk more scarring as they take longer to heal; and bigger ones suffer more stress during healing due to movement and slower healing

  • Healing ability of the skin – some people heal faster and more thoroughly than others; diabetics usually heal much slower; and people who have suffered injuries or illnesses may vary in their healing times

  • Smoking – increases scar risks and slowness of healing

  • Dehydration – your entire body dehydrates with alcohol and caffeinated drinks, decreasing your ability to heal quickly and well; and insufficient fluids, especially from water affects the heart and electrolyte balance, draining the body of necessary fluids to develop healthy cells

  • Diet – foods such as dairy products, meats, fish and poultry provide more proteins that are the basic foundations of the skin’s make-up, so insufficient proteins slow the healing process and how well the site will heal

  • Body weight – too much fat under the top layer of skin makes it hard for surgeons to make a clean closure on incision sites and results in less attractive scars

  • Infections – incisions that become infected can be generally prevented, though this is sometimes not possible even after a surgeon practices proper care of the incision, sometimes extending the size and appearance of any scars that form after surgery, but if an infection is not diagnosed fast enough the chances of worse scars and much slower healing increases dramatically
  • Rest and relaxation – exhausted patients heal slowly because of lack of bodily energy

  • Appropriate wound type care – following the surgeon’s advice for post-surgery wound care is essential and by using unprescribed remedies and ointments, as well as not cleaning the wound appropriately can cause slow healing scars

  • Long-term illnesses – varied illnesses such as diabetes slows and makes it harder for an incision to heal and risks a more pronounced scar

  • Incision stress – can rip apart stitches and incision sites, causing further scarring, but stretching, bending and lifting too soon after surgery can make the scar bigger and more pronounced

  • Sunlight exposure – generally considered unsafe when the incision site is healing, especially when the underneath skin layers are still not completely closed


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