cosmetic procedures

after weight loss, plastic surgery removes excess skin and restores body shape

What You Should Know About Plastic Surgery Scars and Scarring

scars are a natural part of the healing process when the skin is opened by injury or by surgery.

if you're thinking of having a cosmetic procedure, here are a few things you should know about scars and scarring

Scars and Plastic Surgery
When a cosmetic procedure requires that an incision is made so that something can be put in (implants) or taken out (liposuction, face lift, breast reduction, tummy tuck), there will be a scar.

A scar is fibrous tissue that forms at the site of a wound or incision.

Scars go through three distinct phases of healing. In the third and final phase, called maturation, the scar is becoming more like surrounding tissue and more like the final result that you'll see. A rule of thumb is that most scars heal to their best appearance after a year.

  • Scar tissue is inferior to the tissue it replaces
  • Scars don't include sweat glands and hair follicles (although regular tissue may be folded into the scar tissue)
  • Scars are more sensitive to UV rays than regular skin.

Re-modeling is the process during the maturation phase where a raised, red and angry scar becomes flat, fades, and matches color of the surrounding tissue more closely. Re-modeling usually takes place six months to a year after the skin is injured.

Most scars will ultimately resolve as flat, pale areas that correspond pretty much to the exact dimensions as the original wound. Most people show just a moderate difference between scars and surrounding skin once a year or two has passed.

That's most, not all people.

Factors That Influence How Scars Heal
Nutrition, heredity, race and smoking are factors that can determine how someone heals and what their final scar looks like.

What can you do to help scars heal to their best potential?

First, choose a board-certified plastic surgeon. Cosmetic procedures can be performed by MDs who have no training in surgery. A board certified plastic surgeon has been trained and tested in techniques to minimize scars.

With a board certified plastic surgeon, you get the specific, advanced medical training and the aesthetic knowledge. It is as close as you can get to a guarantee of a less visible scar.

Be honest about your skin and your genes. Heredity, what you eat, and smoking can affect scarring.

scars will resolve as flat, pale areas
not much different from
surrounding skin
within a year's time....

If you're like most people, by the time you are old enough to investigate plastic surgery, you already know how you scar. A plastic surgeon might give you better results, but they can't change the basic genetic stuff.

Some people form keloids (thickened, overgrown scar tissue) in response to a wound or cut. African-Americans and others with darker skin are up to 15x more likely to form a keloid. If you have suffered from keloids in the past, your plastic surgeon will not be able to guarantee you won't encounter them again.

Keloids shouldn't be confused with a hypertrophic scar, one that is red and raised but doesn't extend beyond the cut or wound. Again, if you have scarring issues, you probably know this before you come to the plastic surgeon's office.

Proper nutrition also helps scars to heal. There's no special food to eat, no special combination. A balanced diet that's rich in vitamins and nutrients will do.

Smoking is a big no-no because it causes the blood to deliver oxygen less efficiently, depriving scar areas of the oxygen that promotes healing.

More Healing Tips
Do the easy stuff to aid healing. Get plenty of rest, use ice compresses, protect from the sun and wear sunglasses, and limit alcohol consumption.


Scars are minimal. Incisions typically are only 1/4" to 1/2" inch long. The scar may actually have the appearance of a small burn or blemish, appearing as a dyschromia, a lighter or darker spot on your skin.

Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty:
Horizontal tummy tuck incisions are made on the very lowest part of the abdomen and lead to scarring that is right above the underwear/bikini line, usually from hip to hip. The exact placement is determined by the patient's body shape and natural skin folds.

Breast Augmentation:
Since saline implants are inserted empty and are then filled once in place, while silicone implants are factory sealed, Saline breast implant scars are smaller than those for silicone implants.

Neither is particularly large. Different surgeons have preferences for where they insert the implants; the usual choices are through the nipple, under the breast fold or through the armpit.

Breast Lift or Reduction
A Breast reduction results in the classic anchor shape scar; around the nipple, down the front of the breast, underscored by a crescent in the fold beneath the breast. Depending on the case, a breast lift may only require the around the nipple and down scar.

Scars are minimal and surgeons hide within the lower or upper lash line.

Chin and Cheek Implants and Lower Face Lifts

Chin and cheek implants and some facial procedures allow for scars to be placed in the least conspicuous areas, such as the inside of the mouth near the gum line, behind the hair line or behind the ears.


Seeking a board-certified plastic surgeon who can help with your procedure? Visit, the official site of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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