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Preventing or Minimizing Scars After Surgery

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Updated June 30, 2014

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Scar Treatments From Your Surgeon

If you are seriously concerned about scarring, consider discussing the following methods of scar minimization and prevention with your surgeon. Your surgeon may be able to prescribe additional treatments that lower your chances of scarring.

 
  • Silicone Wound Treatment: Silicone wound dressings feel similar to a thick plastic wrap that you would use in the kitchen. Silicone, however, does not adhere to your wound, allowing it to protect your incision from stress and contamination without damaging the skin when it is removed. Studies have shown that silicone can help reduce scarring and is commonly used after plastic surgery. Discuss silicone dressings with your surgeon prior to your procedure, as the surgeon will need to apply this type of bandage.
  • Incision Placement: In some surgeries, the placement of the incision is not absolute. You may be able to talk to your surgeon about where the incision is placed to either hide or help minimize scars. For example, a Caesarean section can be performed with a vertical incision, which may be more obvious, or a horizontal incision, which may be disguised by a bikini.
  • Prescription Medications: If you have a tendency to scar badly, your surgeon may be able to prescribe cleansers, ointments or a wound care regimen to help.
  • Massage: More doctors are recommending that patients (or a licensed massage therapist) massage their scars. This should be done after the wound closes and any staples or sutures are removed. Massaging an incision and the surrounding tissue may even out any bumps or lumps that remain after the healing process. Be sure to use ample lotion, so that your fingers don’t “stick” to your skin, but slide freely.
  • Steroid Injections: If you are prone to forming keloid scars, talk to your surgeon about having a steroid injection to prevent the formation of another keloid.
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