Country superstar Carrie Underwood recently revealed she needed 40-50 stitches to her face after a traumatic fall in November. She warned fans her appearance might be changed as her wounds heal. Scars are also a big concern for patients in our Naples plastic surgery practice. Whether from a trauma, like Carrie Underwood, or secondary to a surgical procedure, having minimal scars is a priority for our patients.
While many factors affecting scarring are beyond our control – the orientation of the scar if from a trauma, skin type, tendency to heal with bumpy, raised scars – there are steps that can be taken to minimize the appearance of scarring. If a scar is due to a trauma, seek proper medical care to ensure the scar is closed in the most appropriate manner (whether stitches, skin glue, or steri-strips) and maintain good wound care to prevent infection. Our practice recommends applying a silicone based scar gel after stitches are removed. This helps minimize the chance a scar will heal red, bumpy, and raised. It is also vital to diligently apply sunscreen to areas of scarring. Scarred tissue is particularly vulnerable to UV exposure, and sun can significantly hinder the healing process. Our office recommends a scar gel that also contains SPF.
While it is imperative to care for the scar during the recovery process, sometimes scars do need other interventions to minimize their appearance. Typically, patients are bothered by either a red or raised appearance to a scar. Both of these characteristics can be improved with laser treatments. The laser may be combined with topical or injectable steroids to soften and flatten the scar.
Many steps can be taken to minimize and improve scaring. However, not all scars can be completely erased. These scars are reminders we are all human. In our practice, we see patients who are greatly concerned by the appearance of a particular scar. In reality, the scar is often barely noticeable to anyone else. We all have our battle wounds, and some scars serve as a gentle reminder of the battles we have waged.