Every time the skin is injured or cut, the body releases collagen to repair the wound—a process that can lead to the appearance of scars. This is something any plastic surgery patient should consider before going under the knife.
However, a good plastic surgeon will make every effort to hide or make the scar less noticeable by placing the incisions within the natural folds of skin, underneath the bikini region, and/or area where scar tissue is less likely to form.
Leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smaili says that one way to avoid or at least minimize the risk of scar migration is to take most of the tension off the skin; this is often done by using deep internal sutures to create a stronger “support” to the new contour.
For instance, instead of lifting the facial skin alone during a facelift surgery, doctors today also re-sculpt and tighten the subdermal fat and muscle. While this technique leads to longer swelling and recovery, its results are way better than a skin-only lift which is criticized for its higher risk of wide scarring and short-lived results.
In tummy tuck surgery wherein scar migration is particularly problematic, the hip-to-hip incision positioned underneath the bikini region is supposed to remain low so the patient will have no “issue” wearing a two-piece swimwear.
To prevent the tummy tuck incision to ride up too hide, the renowned Los Angeles plastic surgeon highlights the importance of removing or at least minimizing the tension on the superficial layers of the closure. This technique not only encourages the scar to remain thin and inconspicuous but also leads to accelerated healing.
Aside from too much tension on the superficial layers of the wound, scar migration is also caused by excessive excision of skin during facelift and tummy tuck and other forms of body lift such as arm lift, breast lift, panniculectomy, and thigh lift.
Nevertheless, the right amount of skin excision remains important when dealing with massive weight loss patients suffering from redundant skin whose primary goal is to achieve a near normal appearance.
In the case of breast augmentation surgery in which the inframammary crease (or natural breast fold) is the most commonly used incision site, the risk of scar migration could be avoided by using a conservative implant size, which is determined on the amount of existing skin and other soft tissue.
The problem with using overlarge breast implants is that the scar may migrate too high or too low because they can overstretch the skin and tissue.