4 Things That Can Make or Break How Well You Heal After Surgery

4 Things That Can Make or Break How Well You Heal After Surgery featured image

When it comes to cosmetic procedures, most people want to come out looking as natural and untouched as possible. Much attention is placed on the actual procedure, but the healing process is just as important to getting a flawless appearance—after all, nothing takes away from the beauty of a breast augmentation or tummy tuck like thick, dark scars. 

There are many factors that contribute to the look of your scar, and the good news is, a lot of it is under your control. We spoke with Beverly Hills plastic surgeons John Layke, DO, and Payman Danielpour, MD, to get the most important information that you need to know to make sure that your incisions heal beautifully. 

Tension Is the Biggest Factor 

“Tension is the single most important factor in wound healing,” says Dr. Danielpour. “Incisions that are under a lot of tension have a higher chance of widening, and therefore healing with a poorer aesthetic outcome. That is why when choosing incisional options, we place incisions in areas that have the least tension. It’s very simple: The more tension the incision has, the higher chance it will want to split apart and therefore widen and heal with a hypertrophic [raised] scar, which is aesthetically unappealing. This is especially important in the early phases of wound healing, and if it can be combatted, the scar will heal with a thin straight line that is sometimes not even noticeable.” 

To make sure that tension is minimized, Dr. Danielpour recommends embrace® Active Scar Defense, the only dressing that relieves tension and stabilizes skin, allowing the wound to heal better. “The mechanism of the embrace® dressing reduces tension on the wound to prevent unsightly scarring,” he explains. 

The Location of the Scar Affects How It Heals 

“There are certain areas of the body that tend to heal poorly—over a joint, in the back, and in an area called the chest box—in between the nipples up to the clavicles,” says Dr. Layke. “Procedures that are over a joint or the ones that cause the most tension will lead to more scarring—any procedure that tries to lift while the body is pushing outward. For example, a lift with an implant. The implant is pushing outward, but the lift is pulling inward, so there’s that push/pull relationship that causes tension.“ 

Using a Silicone Dressing Is Key 

“Silicone sheets cause a pressure phenomena that can help flatten some scars,” says Dr. Layke. “It also locks in moisture, and if you can raise the heat of the skin, you will have the scar heal a little better.” For the best results after surgery, embrace® combines tension relief with restorative silicone to hydrate tissue, which results in a flatter, softer, and more beautiful finish. 

You Might Heal Different Depending on Your Age and Genetics 

“Everyone thinks that being younger is better, but when we’re younger we have thicker, healthier skin, and that leads to more tension,” says Dr. Layke. “When you get older, your skin becomes laxer, so sometimes when you put a wound together, the scar heals really well. But, it doesn’t work that way for everyone. Age isn’t necessarily a factor, even though we tend to see less tension in older people.” 

Genetics is also another (uncontrollable) factor that affects healing. Dr. Layke notes that in particular, some ethnicities such as Asians and those from African American descent may notice that they naturally tend to develop thicker and tougher scars. 

For best results when treating surgical scars, it is essential to get a jump start on preventing a scar. A physician-recommended and reliable product such as embrace® can be applied as soon as sutures are removed and the incision is closed and dry. Planning your scar therapy treatment proactively and aggressively is key for your most beautiful – and natural – look.

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