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Dr. Norman A. Olbourne

Dr. Norman A. Olbourne: Fighting Surgical Scars

January 17, 2012

Dr. Norman A. Olbourne, FRACS, has been a specialist in plastic reconstructive and aesthetic surgery since 1975. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of England and Edinburgh. He is currently a surgeon at the Sydney Institute of Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Olbourne has received a medal for outstanding service from the Australian Society for Plastic Surgery. In addition, he’s held several important positions, including president of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and president of the Australian Society for Plastic Surgery.

Knowing the difference between a plastic and cosmetic surgeon is important when choosing your doctor. Physicians only need a basic medical degree in order to practice as a cosmetic surgeon, whereas plastic surgeons need significantly more rigorous training. To practice as a plastic surgeon, a doctor needs 6 to 10 years of specialized plastic surgery training, in addition to having completed med school. When picking a doctor, be sure thoroughly research the amount of training they have received.

Even if you are getting cosmetic surgery, a cosmetic surgeon may not be the right pick. Both cosmetic and plastic surgeons often practice cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery is a subspeciality of plastic surgery that focuses on aesthetic enhancements. Many fully trained plastic surgeons choose to focus on this field.

Scarring is unavoidable when undergoing plastic surgery. Every surgical procedure results in scars. Scarring is a natural part of how your body heals, and the more major a procedure is, the more scar tissue your body will produce.

The degree of scarring is heavily influenced by genetics. Different individuals heal differently, and some are more susceptible to scarring than others. The patient’s race also determines how visible a scar will be. These are factors that a surgeon, no matter how skilled, cannot control.

There are many aspects of scarring that a good surgeon can control. The skill of a surgeon’s cuts can help to minimize how much a wound scars. In addition, talented surgeons are able to hide scars in the natural lines and creases of your skin. This is why it’s important to fully research a surgeon’s skill before choosing him or her.

How a scar appears shortly after surgery is not representative of its final appearance. Depending on the scope of the surgery, scars can continue healing for as long as a year. After surgery, scars will continue building scar tissue and regrowing blood vessels for several weeks. As such, scars are likely to look their worst 6 weeks after surgery. After this, they will start to flatten and become less than prominent. Many will completely fade over time. 

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Last updated: 17-Jan-12

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