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Scarring After Surgery

By: Jody Ehrhardt - Updated: 21 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Scarring After Surgery Scarring Scar

Although surgery is always necessary and results in the benefit of a cure or successful treatment the downside is often scarring. Scarring of the skin after surgery occurs during the natural healing process. When skin is cut mutilated, or otherwise damaged by surgery new skin must be created to close the wound and heal the injury.

If you have a large, unsightly, or bothersome scar that worries you there are a few things that you can do to diminish the appearance of the damaged tissue. However, you need to understand that there is no treatment available that will entirely erase the scar. Depending on the type of scar you have and the type of treatment that you receive you will see improvements but complete healing is impossible.

What Causes Scarring?

New skin is created by the body through the creation of new collagen fibers and fibrous tissue. This new tissue replaces the normal skin in the area of the injury but does not look or feel exactly like the previous area of skin. The new skin usually has a different texture and may have a slightly lighter color than the surrounding skin. This new skin is what is defined as a scar. The size, thickness, and look of the scar is determined by many variables. The type of surgery, the depth of the cut, the location of the surgery on the skin, the color of the patient's skin, and even their age and skin characteristics have a large effect on how the scar will eventually turn out.

Treating Your Scar At Home

Before you begin any at-home scar treatment is important to understand that scars will improve a little naturally after time. As scars age and further heal they become smaller, smoother, and less visible. Before beginning treatment it is best to wait at least six months, or even up to a year, in order to determine how noticeable and bothersome the scarring will really be. When it is time to treat your scar you have more than a few options. For smaller, less serious scars the application of vitamin E has been shown to result in improvements. For this treatment you can buy vitamin E capsules and release the liquid right onto the scar, or you can buy a cream or lotion that contains large amounts of vitamin E. You can even take a vitamin E supplement internally to complement the treatment and speed healing of the scar from the inside.

Cocoa butter can also be applied to scars to reduce their appearance and smooth out the affected area of skin. This supplement is usually added to creams and lotions and can be found in the beauty aisle of your grocery store. Some creams sold specifically for improving the look of stretch marks on pregnant women also contain cocoa butter and can work well on other types of scar issue. These items can be found in the baby aisle.

For deeper, thicker, or more serious scars at-home treatment creams and remedies are sold in the medication section or at the pharmacy. These preparations are designed specifically for the treatment of scars and contain active ingredients that help the skin shed damaged cells and produce new ones. These products help diminish the appearance of scars and smooth out the area of scar tissue.

Can Your Doctor Help?

If you do not the see the results you want with at-home treatments you can consult a doctor or dermatologist for help. These medical professionals can suggest stronger ways to deal with scar tissue, especially scars that are very large, very thick, or very tight in nature.

The first course of medical treatment for scarring is the use of a prescription strength creams or topical medicines. These creams usually contain copper peptides, alpha hydroxy acids, or beta hydroxy acids. These treatments help the skin shed abnormal or damaged cells so that new skin production can begin. While these treatments can take up to one year to produce the desired results, the appearance of the scar tissue is usually greatly improved.

Scar surgery is another medical option and is used when other options fail or when the scar tissue is too large or deep to treat topically. In this treatment surgery is used to remove old scar tissue and new tissue is allowed to form. Surgery can reduce the appearance of scars and make larger scars smaller but since all surgery causes scarring there will be some damaged tissue left behind.

Although the above treatments do work and in some cases can be well worth the effort your best line of defense is to discuss scarring after surgery with your doctor before hand. He or she can explain what type of scarring you can expect and guide you through your options when it comes to scar minimising and reduction.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
My 15 year old daughter has been left with a 1 inch horizontal scar on her cheek due to getting stitches. This happened happened about a year ago. Is it safe to use dermatix gel on it, or better leaving to fade naturally ? Because of her age she is asking if it will ever go away. Any guidance on what I can do would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Cassie - 1-Nov-12 @ 11:05 PM
I? had a couple of harmless bumps on my nose for about a year or so, wasn't a pimple nor wart/lesion - just a skin surface deformation known as angiofibroma. Anyhoo, i went to a derm that suggested i should do electrosurgery to burn it off, after the treatment the burnt off skin was red and wound-ish and took about a week to heal (as expected), but starting from the following week there has been nothing but big spots sitting on the areas that were burnt as red to dark brownish scars that aren't fading away?! It's been almost 3 weeks since i did the surgery.. i mean it's not changing a bit! I seriously need help! Please help me.. I called the doctor a couple of days ago and he told me to buy acnederm (lotion) and elocom to reduce the dark color and hopefully blend in with it's surrounding color. But i have yet to see slight or significant changes... i can send you pictures to help you better understand what's happening. AND, two of these burnt spots were initially flat (when burnt), but they somehow grew back. But, not as much as it was before, but still.. it's really annoying. Please help.
abdulla165 - 4-Oct-12 @ 10:08 PM
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