Any form of plastic surgery is impossible without the use of incisions, which will inevitably result in scars. Nevertheless, a good surgeon will make every effort to position them within the natural skin folds, beneath the “bikini” line, and other “strategic” places where they are barely detectable.
Some types of plastic surgeries such as breast augmentation, liposuction, and mini facelift use small, hidden incisions that the risk of visible scars is generally not a cause for concern.
However, some procedures such as plastic surgery after weight loss, breast lift/reduction, and tummy tuck require a more extensive use of incisions, thus their scars tend to be more visible, according to Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smaili.
For these aforementioned procedures, Dr. Smaili says the use of scar creams and other related treatments are usually recommended once the wound is clinically healed, which can take three to four weeks for most patients. He warns that using them too soon could irritate the skin or inhibit the healing process, leading to unfavorable scarring and other complications.
Dr. Smaili says a prudent patient will always ask for her surgeon’s permission before using any plastic surgery scar removal treatment. The general rule of thumb is to avoid scar creams on open wound, he further explains.
Dark ethnic skin, according to studies, is particularly prone to aggressive scars or keloid that appears thick and goes beyond the original site of injury. For this reason, patients with a darker complexion may consider scar treatments while their scars are still immature, i.e., less than six months.
Silicone tapes and sheets are believed to be particularly ideal for preventing or treating thick and raised scars because of their gentle pressure and their ability to create a warm, moist environment that promotes good healing. In fact, some surgeons even instruct their patients to use them as long as tolerated.
A good alternative or complement to silicone sheet is scar massage, which aims to break up the scar tissue that may form within the skin surface. Studies have suggested that immature scars, or less than six months to a year of surgery, respond well to this treatment especially when used together with scar creams.
Most popular scar creams today contain silicone and other ingredients known for their hydrating, healing effects.
For stubborn raised scars, Dr. Smaili says steroid injections might be a better option, although they should be used judiciously and must be deep enough to prevent hypopigmentation (treated area turning white) and skin irregularities.