If you are planning surgery, keep these tips in mind to reduce and prevent potential surgery scars.
No matter why you need or want to have surgery, it’s a stressful situation. There are a number of things to think and even worry about, from the effects of anesthesia to planning for downtime so that you can recover. And the potential for surgical scars is high up on the list. No one wants to be left with a permanent scar to remind them of surgery, let alone a scar that’s visible to others who might then ask about the surgery or make other insensitive comments.
You don’t have total control over whether or not you end up with surgery scars, but you do have some control – there are steps you can take that may either prevent a surgical scar or at least keep them to a minimum. Take a look so that you can make a plan to prevent or minimize you own surgery scars.
1. Know Your Risk Factors
Surgery itself is a risk factor for scarring. Basically, any time that your skin is injured creates the possibility of scarring and cutting into your skin is an injury to it, even if it’s done for a good reason. Choosing a skilled surgeon can help, but any surgeon, no matter how skilled, could create a scar because they’re making cuts.
Of course, some skin is more likely to scar than other skin. For example, the older you become, the less elasticity your skin has. Less elasticity means less ability to bounce back and a greater possibility of scarring.
The type of incision matters as well. A small, shallow incision is less likely to scar than one that the surgeon needs to make long, deep, or both. In addition to other factors, the size of the scar affects how long it takes you to heal, and the longer the wound goes unhealed, the more likely it is to scar. Genetics factors in here as well. Some people have the kinds of genetics that allow them to heal quickly and with minimal scarring, and some have the opposite. If you’ve noticed that your parents have scars or tend to take a long time to heal from surgery, you’ll want to mention that to your surgeon, because you may have inherited their difficulties, and addressing it early on can lead to better healing and less surgery scars.
You can’t change your age or genetics, but there are choices that you can make in order to make sure that your scarring is as minimal as possible, and no matter what your risk factors are, it’s a good idea to take these steps, because you may not know until after the fact whether you have the type of skin that’s likely to scar.
2. Quit Smoking
If you’re planning a surgery and your surgeon knows that you smoke, there’s a good chance that they’ve already talked to you about smoking. Yes, almost all doctors will tell you not to smoke, and they’re all very serious about the health risks, but surgeons have an especially serious reason to have this conversation.
Smoking is a serious surgical risk and risk factor for scarring. You may not realize it, but smoking impedes the healing process by reducing the flow of nutritional blood to the wound site. Your wound needs blood flow, and the oxygen that comes with it, in order to heal properly. Remember, the longer your wound takes to heal, and the more complications involved in the healing process, the more likely there is to be a scar.
The situation is so serious that in the case of elective surgery, some surgeons will require smoking cessation for a few weeks prior to the surgery and won’t proceed if the patient doesn’t agree. And your surgeon will probably also extract a promise from you not to smoke for at least a limited period of time after surgery as well.
3. How to Eat and Drink
The importance of diet before and after surgery can’t be understated either, and it’s also especially important to wound care. When it comes to drinking, there are two rules: more water and less alcohol. Among other factors, alcohol is dehydrating, which is the last thing you want for scar prevention – hydrated skin has more elasticity and heals more efficiently. That’s why you want more water.
When it comes to the food you eat, a nutritious diet is of course important, but before and after surgery, you probably want an extra emphasis on proteins such as:
Protein is one of the building blocks of skin and helps it to heal.
The Value of Rest and Wound Care for Preventing Surgery Scars
In addition to avoiding smoking and eating right, the value of rest and proper post-surgery recovery can’t be understated. You might feel well enough after a surgery, especially if you prepared well and had a superior surgeon perform the procedure. But any surgery is a trauma to your body, and healing from a trauma requires rest. You need to let your body get the downtime it needs so that it can focus on healing without complications or interruptions.
Speaking of complications, remember that any interference in the healing process is more likely to slow down healing and create a scar. That includes infections. With proper wound care, including following the surgeon’s directions when it comes to dressings and prescriptions as well as appropriate oversight, your wound will heal more quickly, and you’ll have less of a chance of developing a lasting scar.
A luxury recovery retreat like Pearl Recovery Retreat & Wellness may be the best way for you to get the rest and care you need following a surgery. You’ll be in a healthy, recovery-oriented environment that’s geared toward allowing you the rest you need with appropriate medical oversight where necessary.