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Factors that Can Affect Scarring after Surgery

What affects scarring?

Scarring is a widespread concern among plastic surgery patients. The general rule of thumb is that the quicker and easier a surgical wound heals, the less noticeable scarring will be. A clean and protected surgical wound will likely heal on its own with little scarring. However, there are a few factors that can negatively affect the wound healing process and ensuing scarring. Here, the South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery team explains these factors and offers some tips to work around these threats.

Smoking

Smoking and other forms of nicotine (including patches and gum) constrict the blood vessels, limiting blood flow and the amount of oxygen delivered to the healing tissues. Inadequate blood flow leads to skin death and substantial scarring. Quitting smoking prior to surgery is one of the best things a plastic surgery patient can do, not only for their cosmetic results but also for general health and wellbeing.

Age

The aging process naturally impedes a person’s ability to heal from a lesion. The skin loses healthy elasticity and collagen, both of which are critical to wound healing. The immune system also weakens, which can put a patient at risk of an infection and poor wound healing. Unfortunately the aging process is out of a patient’s control. Our team is happy to provide more information during your consultation about what we can do to minimize scarring in our older patients. (For example, we are very conscientious when making the incisions so that any scarring is concealed within the natural folds of the skin.)

Sun Exposure

Exposing an incision or forming scar to the sun or a tanning bed can cause it to darken and thicken. This is why our doctors warn patients to keep their surgical incisions out of the sun (and avoid tanning beds) as much as possible in the months following surgery. It is also strongly recommended that patients cover up the forming scar with sunscreen and clothing (e.g., a bathing suit or hat, depending on the treated area) when spending time in the sun.

Excessive Movement during Recovery

Moving around too much during recovery can cause swelling, which interferes with the wound healing process and scar formation. Our doctors advise slowly adding more activity into your routine as you heal from surgery, and not pushing your body before it is ready. We can provide a timetable of when it is appropriate to resume work, exercising, socializing and other activities after surgery.

Contact Our Plastic Surgery Team Today

For more information about maximizing your plastic surgery results, please contact the team at the South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery today. You can reach us by calling (954) 565-7575.

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