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Surgical Scars

February 12, 2012

Written for Scars1 by Michelle Alford

 When a large, noticeable scar appeared on Bruce Jenner’s face last month, people speculated that it was the result of botched plastic surgery when in fact, according to TMZ, it came from a surgery to remove an early form of skin cancer. What many people don’t realize is that every type of surgery, whether for aesthetic or medical purposes, does leave scars. If you’ve recently had a surgery to improve your health or are considering surgery to improve your appearance, here’s everything you need to know about scars.

Scars are a natural part of the body’s healing process and are unavoidable when undergoing surgery. The more major a procedure is, the more scar tissue your body will produce. Collagen is deposited in the wound to reconnect the injured tissue, and new blood vessels grow to nourish the process. This results in the scar becoming increasingly hard, raised, and red in the weeks following surgery.

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. Scars tend to look their worst 6 weeks after surgery. After this, they will start to flatten and become less prominent. Many will completely fade over time. 

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.

However, 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. The location of cuts is set for medical surgeries, but for plastic surgery, 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 plastic surgeon’s skill before choosing him or her.

The most important thing to keep in mind is not to panic if a month after surgery your scars seem to be getting worse. The redness and raised skin only indicate that your body is healing like it’s supposed to. After six weeks, you should see a shift towards diminishing appearance and healthy skin. 

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Photo: Army Medicine 

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