Most people are apprehensive about getting surgery. Everyone dreads having a surgery done, but for some, the fear goes beyond the operating room. After a surgery is performed, the incised area is stitched back using sutures, which may or may not be self-absorbing. The superficial layers of skin secrete collagen to form a mesh, to connect the skin on the two sides of the incision. It is this collagen mesh that is visible as a scar. People are often apprehensive about scar tissue after surgery. These scars may sometimes not only lead to unsightly disfigurement of the body, but are often sites of reinfections and super-infections.
Some people are more susceptible to developing scars due to their genetic predisposition. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus also make one susceptible. Some may have the tendency of developing hypertrophic scars or keloid formation. The age of the patient, type of surgery performed, depth of the incision and skin healing rate may also be determining factors for scar tissue formation.
- Do not smoke immediately after surgery.
- Do not consume alcohol immediately after surgery.
- Maintain a good and balanced diet after surgery. Ensure that you are eating healthy food to help speed recovery.
- Take proper rest after a major surgical procedure, to ensure proper wound care.
- Remaining hydrated is very important after surgery. A good healthy body with proper electrolyte balance helps in healing.
- Try to bring down your weight before surgery. Presence of fat cells hinders healing, which in turn leads to unnecessary scarring.
- Use of silicone dressing over the incision considerably minimizes the chances of contamination of the wound site, thus reducing the chances of scarring.
- Try to bring down any chronic or long standing infection that you may be suffering from, to ensure that it is not a hindrance for quick healing of the incision. If you are a diabetic, try to keep your sugar level in control.
- Avoid putting any stress on your incision.
- Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight.
- Take antibiotics (as prescribed by your physician) to prevent any super-infection at the site of incision. In case there is any visible symptoms of an impending infection, immediately contact your surgeon.
- Ensure that you religiously follow all the instructions given by your physician.
- A small scar tissue can be considerably reduced by normal stretching, and by doing daily routine activities.
- Deep tissue massaging helps to break down the fibrous mesh, thus, encouraging remodeling of the tissue and helping in the removal of tissue. However, this should be done once the scar heals considerably. Generous amount of lotion should be used while massaging the affected skin.
- Sometimes, heat treatment is done at the site, which helps in drawing blood to the site, thus, aiding in quick healing of the tissue.
- Certain drugs like, vitamin E capsules and vitamin C tablets may speed up the healing process. There are also certain creams which speed up the healing process and help to lighten them considerably, although it is not possible to eliminate them completely by the use of topical creams only. These topical creams include corticosteroids and antihistamine creams.
- Although there are certain cosmetic surgeries for getting rid of scars, but the truth is that any surgical procedure will involve taking an incision, which in turn will leave a scar (albeit a smaller and less visible one, if it is a cosmetic surgery that is being performed). Furthermore, surgery is contraindicated in people who have keloid formation tendency or those who develop hypertrophic scars.
- For people who have a keloid formation tendency, surgeons can make use of steroid injections to prevent keloid.
As a child, you must have developed scars by hurting your knee. On the same lines, surgery, although performed by a skilled surgeon, may result in scars. So, it is best to always prevent or limit them by following the preventive measures outlined above. And, to ensure that you're always in prime health, try to make an informed decision about the three important 'S' - your surgery, your surgeon, and your tendency to develop scars.