A Word about Scars

A Word about Scars


There is a popular misconception that plastic surgeons are able to leave an invisible scars. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Each time the skin is cut by a scalpel or laser, a surgical scar is produced. Scars are always visible, and the nature of a scar can never be predicted with complete accuracy. The appearance of a scar varies according to its location on the body, tension on the scar, and the individual’s healing process.

Skilled plastic surgeons can produce less visible scars with advanced suturing techniques, and by locating incisions inconspicuously. Some forms of surgery tend to produce good scars, such as the scar in front of the ear with facelift surgery. Other operations can produce scars which are prone to stretching, thickening, redness and tenderness. In the worst cases, these scars take over two years to settle and mature but may never end up as thin line scars.

Although scarring from previous surgery may give an indication of likely future scarring, some areas on the body produce an unpredictable healing response. Some patients form hard, red, thick hypertrophic scars which cannot be anticipated by the surgeon before the operation.

Scars over time

When settled or mature, surgical scars are always white, as they contain no pigment producing cells. Occasionally, a scar can over-pigment. This is usually due to sun exposure but can be exacerbated by the use of oral contraceptives, hormone treatments, dermabrasion, or certain drugs. It is always important to protect a fresh scar from sun exposure. Scars nearly always mature and flatten, but the time interval can range from months to years. In the worst instance, a keloid scar will remain raised, red, thick, tender and itchy.

Deeper scars

Scarring also occurs in the deeper layers of skin, fat and muscle. This is more prominent when the skin or other layers have been separated. These scars can behave in the same manner as skin scars, becoming thick, lumpy, raised and tender. Deeper scarring can be noticeable in the cheeks after a face-lift or after liposuction. Massage and other treatments can help, and these scars do settle with time, but the process may take many months.

If you are concerned about scarring, speak with Dr Turner and our friendly team to learn more about your chosen procedure.