[By Claudia Leigh]
Whenever the skin sustains damage, be it intentional or accidental, there is the possibility of scarring. If you’re turning to plastic surgery to make yourself look prettier or younger, you must be aware that even in the hands of the most skilled cosmetics surgeon, you might be left with a scar from the procedure. Making an incision in the skin, which typically requires cutting through all of the layers of the skin, can result in scarring, regardless of where on the body surgery is performed or why the surgery is being done.Scarring is a natural part of the healing process after an injury sustained and its appearance and treatment depend on multiple factors such as the depth and size of the initial wound, the location of the injury, age, sex, ethnicity and genetics.If you’ve taken good care of the initial wound and try everything you could but the scar is still not looking good, here are 5 ways to improve upon the appearance of post-surgery scarring.
Silicone gel sheeting
If you stroll down the aisles of any drugstore, there’s no shortage of lotions, creams, and other products that claim to reduce a scar’s appearance, yet many lack evidence to back up their claims. Of all the home remedies for scars, silicone may have the most evidence that it works. A number of scientific studies over the past 20 years have shown them working exceptionally well against hypertrophic and keloid scars, both as a preventive measure and to treat them. Silicone treatments are not one-size
fits-all and is determined by the size, type and maturity of the particular scar in question. If a scar is new, bioCorneium, an FDA-approved silicone gel designed to minimize scarring by hydrating and protecting the area as it matures is ideal, best applied twice daily for six weeks. Two other scar-reducing options we’re loving: Mederma Quick Dry Oil and Scar Away Silicone Scar Sheets.
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Intralesional steroid injection
Intralesional steroid injections have been used since the mid-60s for the treatment of raised scars, flattening scars by softening skin and shrinking down hard scar tissues. The steroid used for intralesional injection for scar is triamcinolone (Kenalog), and it can be administered as soon as the problematic scar is identified. Although seemingly simple at first glance, Intralesional cortisone injection is not without its risks.The expertise and injection technique employed is just as crucial as the amount and dilution of the medication used, as there’s always a risk of fat atrophy with steroid injection(s) that can result in dimpling or converting the raised scars into atrophic scarring if not done properly.
Steroid injections are commonly used for keloids and hypertrophic scars. Both are raised, discolored scars that are the result of an overactive wound healing response.One drawback of steroid injections for raised scars is the variable response rate. Generally speaking, usually two or three injections that are given one month apart are needed to achieve the desired results and therapy can continue for six months or longer, as there is up to a 50% chance that the symptoms of your raised scar will recur.
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VBeam Perfecta laser for red scars
During wound healing, there’s neovascularization or increased formation of new blood vessels to bring nutrients to nourish and repair the site of injury. When new blood vessels are created, you end up with greater than usual blood flow to the healing area and it’ll appear red. This red discoloration usually fade with time as the wound heal but this is not always the case, with some individuals ending up with unsightly looking scars. The same go for red acne marks and red stretch marks.
Widely considered by experts as the gold standard for treating blood vessels related skin conditions, the FDA approved Vbeam Perfecta laser is the most advanced Pulsed Dye Laser Technology that has the unique ability to deliver intense but gentle pulsed laser energy to selectively targeted blood vessels without adversely affecting the surrounding tissue, shrinking them to reduce the red skin stain. As part of the Scar Prevention Program paired with Fraxel Laser treatment, Vbeam is the quintessential treatment plan that can be implemented immediately after suture removal to speed up the healing of post-surgical scars and greatly reduce the formation of hypertrophic and keloid scars in susceptible individuals. Besides, it also accelerates the healing and fading of post-surgical scars. Best results are seen when the first session is instituted at suture removal to 1 week post suture removal, with subsequent treatments carried out judiciously at 2 weeks apart for best results. Keeping to the program time frame or as suggested by your attending physician ensures ideal skin scar recovery and timely intervention.
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Resurfacing lasers for mature scars
Skin changes that occur with SmartXide DOT (SmartX) ablative CO2 microresurfacing laser
Laser resurfacing is most effective way to tackle older scars caused by trauma/surgery or bad acne scarring that are not growing or getting thicker when the healing process is complete. Unlike traditional CO2 and other laser resurfacing technology, SmartX micro-resurfacing laser combines advanced fractional CO2 technology with a high-speed computer scanner to deliver a precise matrix of microlaser pulses which erase skin imperfections and activate skin rejuvenation, while facilitating rapid skin healing, achieving good results without the side effects, risks and downtime of traditional ablative skin resurfacing lasers of yore. As part of the Scar Intervention Program, it is the choice treatment for older surgical scars that have already healed completely but may benefit from supplementary supportive therapy. Designed to address textural and colour issues, it’ll give skin regained strength and suppleness, helping existing scars blend into your skin like a clever “photoshop” tool.
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Surgical scar revision
Surgical revision of a poorly healed repaired traumatic scar (mature) to reduce its visibility
Scar revision surgery, in a nutshell, is a makeover for the healing process and should be considered if there was a complication from the initial healing of the post surgical wound that result in the scar(s) in question.
“Scar revision surgery will attempt to minimize a scar so that it become less conspicuous and blend in better with the surrounding skin tone and texture.” Explains Dr. Chia Hui Ling, consultant plastic surgeon with the SW1 Clinic. “If the scar is reasonably well healed and one simply desire a better looking scar, the results achievable might not be on par with your expectation.”
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After completing Basic Surgical Training in London and Cambridge (UK), Dr. Chia Hui Ling from the SW1 Clinic returned to Singapore for Advanced Specialty Training where she attained her Specialist Accreditation in Plastic Surgery. Apart from her meticulous skills, as a female plastic surgeon, Dr. Chia is sensitive to the anxiety and emotions patients face with plastic surgery, with a genuine and compassionate nature that has earned her a loyal following.