21 Oct Postsurgical Scar Management: How To Care For Incisions After Plastic Surgery
Introducing Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery is a procedure that reconstructs a patient’s facial or body tissue to give a better appearance and function. Plastic surgery is either done for cosmetic reasons or to fix a defect. After plastic surgery, care for the postsurgical scar and incisions is crucial to avoid future complications.
General care for incisions
After surgery, taking care of the incisions is very crucial to avoid future medical complications. There are some important tips to remember when caring for an incision. These include washing hands before and after caring for incisions and checking for any abnormalities such as bleeding and pus. Wear loose clothing around the affected area, avoid scratching, and keep the incision dry. The doctor may allow the patient to shower 24 hours after the surgery, depending on the condition of the incision.
Managing incisions to lessen scars
A scar occurs after surgery as a result of the body’s natural process of healing. There are various postoperative management methods to take care of or reduce scars. These include the application of topical ointments such as antibiotics, sunscreen, scar massage, silicone gel, and pressure dressing. All of these have some benefits in reducing scars after an operation.
The topical applications
Topical antibiotics are usually applied after the closure of the wound intraoperatively and after the surgery as well. Petroleum jelly helps to reduce the redness of the scar and maintains moisture. These topical ointments are typically applied daily for 1-3 weeks.
Apply sunscreen and gentle massage
After 2-3 weeks of healing, protecting the surgical site from the sun and gentle massage are significant. Scars less than 18 months old are prone to get damaged by ultraviolet light, causing the scar to darken. A patient should wear sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more whenever exposed to sunlight. Gently massage only when the wound is completely closed with a moisturizer or petroleum jelly in a circular motion. The massage is done twice daily for 10 minutes for at least 6 weeks.
Additional useful products
Other helpful products that heal scars include silicone gel and paper tape. Dressing consisting of silicone gel sheeting aids in scar elasticity and appearance. Paper tape is placed on the incision area to lessen the intensity of the scar. A pressure dressing is another way to lessen scar by applying compressive forces to flatten the scar.
Few invasive techniques
A couple of invasive procedures may help to improve scars such as dermabrasion and low-energy lasers. Sometimes a revision surgery may be required to improve the appearance. New products are always being marketed but always ask the healthcare provider for advice.
Choosing the right one
Although there are many options to choose from for the management of scars, a doctor can advise the best one. Each management technique has a benefit and every patient will have a different outcome. Regardless of the chosen management and outcome, maintaining proper wound care is crucial.