Wound Stapled, Stitched or Glued? Here’s the Type of Scar You Can Expect

Wound Stapled, Stitched or Glued? Here’s the Type of Scar You Can Expect

After surgery or a deep wound, your doctor will close the wound with sutures (stitches), glue, staples, or a combination of these. Securing the edges of the wound together is crucial for healing, but the type of skin closure can impact the appearance of the final scar. Depending on the way your doctor closed the wound, here’s the type of scar you can expect:

Staples

A staple incision closure is more consistent and faster than stitches. Surgical staples are disposable and are made of plastic or stainless steel. The problem with most skin staples is that they can leave permanent marks on the skin that create a “train track” look.

Sutures

Sutures are the most common way to close wounds, including incisions after surgery. The doctor basically sews the skin edges back together. Sutures can be permanent or absorbable. If permanent sutures are used to close the top skin layer, these need to be removed once the skin has healed. Absorbable sutures dissolve on their own over time once the tissues have healed and don’t need to be removed. Large sutures that are left in the skin for too long can lead to scars that look like stitching.

Glue

Smaller wounds that are not very deep may be put back together using special adhesive glue. This works similar to stitches and staples in that it secures the skin edges back together to promote the healing of the wound or incision. Skin glue does not leave “train track” or “stitch” marks.

Most Important Factors for the Best Scar

Whether you have staples, stitches, or just glue to help your wound heal, there are a few shared factors that promote the best looking scar. First and foremost, you want to be sure that the wound edges are lined up anatomically. Your doctor should ensure that the two layers of skin properly line up with one another. This helps the skin to heal more seamlessly, rather than looking jagged.
The depth and length of the injury, as well as the location, also affect the appearance of the scar. Certain lifestyle and genetic factors, including gender, race and age, also influence scarring. To promote healing and have the best looking scar, care for the wound correctly, eat healthily, drink plenty of water, and don’t smoke. Follow your doctor’s orders, which typically include keeping the area clean, covered, out of the sun, and moist to promote healing.

Once the wound has healed, ask your doctor if you are ready to start using a topical scar treatment to reduce the long-term appearance of your scar as much as possible.

Have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
Do Over the Counter Scar Treatments Really Work?

Do Over the Counter Scar Treatments Really Work?

There are so many different types of over the counter scar treatments that it can be difficult to know whether or not they actually work. The ingredients of the treatments play a significant role in their effectiveness. The right ingredients, especially in the right combination, will facilitate the natural healing process, reducing the appearance of the scar, while other ingredients may not work, or even cause more damage.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is commonly found in skin care ingredients since it is a powerful antioxidant that promotes beautiful skin. However, there is no real evidence that using vitamin E actually improves the scar. Instead, the benefits are most likely due to continued moistening of the area, rather than the infusion of the vitamin. Many people also develop contact dermatitis from vitamin E, so it is another ingredient to avoid.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant, and it plays an important role in the body’s healthy immune response, which includes wound healing. Furthermore, it is essential for proper formation of collagen and elastin in skin, which helps build healthy skin cells, rather than damaged scar tissue, after the skin is injured. Vitamin C also fades the hyperpigmentation that can come with scarring. Therefore, it is an effective and safe ingredient in an over the counter scar treatment.

Silicone

Silicone is another ingredient that has been shown in studies to aid in the treatment of scars, while not promoting any danger. It reduces any redness, pain and itching associated with the scarring, while also improving the elasticity of the skin.

Aloe Vera

Another beneficial, and effective, ingredient for over the counter scar treatment creams is aloe vera. This plant has long been used in cosmetics and first aid creams due to its moisturizing and healing effects. It protects the wound while also promoting healing, reducing inflammation, and strengthening the collagen structure.

Hydroquinone

Many popular over the counter scar treatment creams contain hydroquinone, and it has a reputation for effectively lightening scars. However, it is a very dangerous ingredient that has been banned in several countries. Even in the smaller doses found in over the counter creams, it can lead to problems such as impaired wound healing, irritation, nail discoloration, and ochronosis (permanent skin darkening).

Kojic Acid

Another seemingly effective scar treatment ingredient that is commonly found in over the counter creams is kojic acid. Like hydroquinone, it may work, but the negative effects are not worth its lightening abilities. Studies have found that prolonged use leads to more sensitive skin and contact dermatitis. It also is not effective at improving the appearance of scars, beyond lightening the skin color.

When OTC Treatments Do Not Work

If you have a keloid, indented scar, or certain other scars, then over the counter treatments will not work. These scars require more invasive treatments, such as laser therapy, collagen injections, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, dermabrasion, or microneedling. If you are unsure about the best form of treatment for your scar, then you should discuss it with your dermatologist.

When looking for an effective over the counter scar treatment, you should look for all natural ingredients that do not include preservatives or fragrances, as this could also aggravate the skin. You do not want to use any harsh ingredients; instead, you want to support your skin’s natural healing process, which will reduce the appearance of any scars.

Have a question about your scar or a particular ingredient? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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Scars Heal Differently. Here’s Why

Scars Heal Differently. Here’s Why

After the skin becomes injured, scar tissue forms as a part of the natural healing process. This tissue looks and feels different than normal skin tissue because there is excess collagen produced. Different scars also appear different and heal differently based upon the amount of collagen produced during the healing process. Lifestyle, genetics, age, depth and size of the injury, the location, and the treatment of the wound all affect how the scar heals.

Read: Scar Tissue is Different Than Normal Tissue 

Genetic and Lifestyle Influences on Scar Healing

As with any body function, your genetics, which include your ethnicity and gender, influence how your body heals from injury, which is why each person scars differently. These genetic influences cannot be changed, but they can be mitigated through lifestyle changes and certain treatments. Your age will affect scarring as well, because your ability to regenerate cells and heal is reduced.

Lifestyle factors, including exercising, drinking plenty of water, and eating a healthy diet, influence your skin’s natural healing process as well. To heal properly, you need to be strong and healthy. Your skin also needs certain nutrients that it can get from food, especially vitamin C and E. You skin also needs plenty of moisture to heal correctly, which is why keeping your scar moisturized is vital. You should also keep active, as long as it does not disturb your wound and your doctor approves it, to promote healing.

The Affect of Wound Treatment

Because scars are caused by injury to the skin, the element that has the greatest influence on its healing process is the treatment of the wound. When you experience a deep cut, including an incision from surgery, the skin needs to be aligned correctly when it is glued, stapled, or stitched back together, or else it will have a larger scar. Your scar will look different whether you have staples, glue, or stitches as well. If the injured skin is brought back together perfectly, then the chance of scarring is reduced, although you may still have a small, almost invisible line. You also want to allow the area to heal completely, and not reopen the wound or get it infected, as this will increase the chance of a larger scar.

How the Type of Scar Alters the Healing Process

There are different types of scars that affect the ability for the scar to heal over time. You may have a hypertrophic scar, acne scar, contracture scar, or keloid scars. Keloid scars are the most difficult to heal, because they are raised scars due to excess collagen that extend beyond the original injury. Contracture scars typically occur after a burn, and they often tighten the skin and can make it difficult to move. Hypertrophoic scars are also raised, similar to keloids, but remain within the area of the wound. Some of these different types of scars occur because of the type of wound, while others form due to genetics, the environment, or other factors.

Read: Scar Healing Time

There is no real way to predict how a scar will heal, as it is highly influenced by genetics, environment, lifestyle factors, and treatment. Regardless of the type of scar, you can help it heal by taking care of the wound, eating a healthy diet, and drinking plenty of water.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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Thyroid Surgery Scars

Thyroid Surgery Scars

One common surgery performed on people is thyroid surgery, which typically involves removing part or all of the thyroid gland. This type of surgery is used to treat problems in the thyroid, including any cancer, a benign or cystic nodule causing problems, goiters, or some extreme forms of hyperthyroidism for which medication has not provided any benefits. Although surgeons will try their best to reduce the amount of scarring that occurs after surgery, you will have small, but noticeable scarring, as long as it heals properly.

Types of Thyroid Surgery

There are three main types of thyroid surgery: total thyroidectomy, thyroid lobectomy with or without an isthmectomy, or a subtotal thyroidectomy. A total thyroidectomy is the removal of the entire gland, including the surrounding lymph nodes. A thyroid lobectomy only removes one of the lobes of the gland, and it occurs when the problem is isolated to one area. It may include the removal of the connective tissues, known as the ishtmus. A subtotal or near total thyroidectomy removes one total lobe and part of the other one and is typically used for patients with Grave’s disease. Most thyroid surgeries are performed through endoscopic thyroidectomies, which reduces the amount of scarring and overall recovery time.

What is an Endoscopic Thyroidectomy?

Surgeons do their best to reduce the amount of trauma to the skin, and the rest of the body, when performing surgery. They often will create the incision in the natural creases of the skin on the neck, which will make the scar even less noticeable. Additionally, many surgeons now perform an endoscopic thyroidectomy, which is a minimally invasive surgery that only requires a very small incision on the neck, reducing the amount of scarring. A video camera and the necessary implements are inserted through the incision, and the surgeon performs the surgery using controls and the video camera. In some cases, you may still have a conventional thyroidectomy, which will require a larger incision and thereby leave a larger scar.

What to Expect from Thyroid Surgery Scars

The incision or incisions from your surgery will form scars as part of the naturally healing process. Most surgeons will cover the wound with some type of steri-strips or tape covering the stitches. These typically remain in place for a week or so while the skin begins to heal. You should follow your doctor’s orders about treating the incision area to reduce the risk of infection and re-opening the incision, as this will create additional trauma to the skin and intensify the prevalence of the scar tissue. You will want to keep the area as dry as possible and covered with bandages until the skin has healed well enough.

For the first six weeks or so, the incision may be bruised and slightly swollen, and it may also be raised a bit. As it heals, this will fade and it will begin to look similar to the surrounding skin. While the scar is healing, you should wear sunscreen of at least 30 SPF, as this will reduce any further damage to the skin cells by the UV rays of the sun. You can also use a scar treatment cream to help expedite the healing process.

Have a question about your surgery scars? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help!

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Gallbladder Surgery Scars

Gallbladder Surgery Scars

Your gallbladder is a small, but important organ that stores bile produced by your liver, which helps with the digestion of fats. Although it provides an essential function for your digestion system, it is not an essential organ, meaning you can survive without it. Gallbladder surgery is one of the more common surgeries, and as with most surgeries it can leave a scar.

Why is Gallbladder Surgery Performed?

There are a few reasons people undergo gallbladder surgery, which often includes removing the organ. One of the most common problems involves gallstones, which are crystallized bile substances that can cause pain, inflammation and nausea. The inflammation caused by gallstones is known as cholecystistis, and it can lead to fever and severe pain. When this inflammation is recurrent, then the organ is typically removed. Gallstones can also block the ducts draining the pancreas, which can lead to pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, which can be quite serious. The other reason for gallbladder surgery is cancer, which is very rare. Not all instances of gallstones and other gallbladder problems will resort to surgery, although it is the most common treatment. Gallbladder surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the U.S., and typically is done using laparoscopic surgery.

The Benefits of Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery that only uses very small incisions. The necessary instruments, typically graspers, scissors, and clip applier are entered into the patient through the small incisions, and the surgeon performs the surgery using a camera. Typically, each implement will be inserted through its own very small incision, for a total of four. Three will be in the right side near the bottom of the rib cage, while the fourth will be above or at the belly button. One version of laparoscopic surgery involves just one incision at the belly button. Traditional surgery requires a six-inch incision for the gallbladder to be removed. The less invasive laparoscopic surgery not only reduces some of the associated risks of surgery, it also greatly reduces the amount of scarring you will have after the surgery.

Treating and Preventing Gallbladder Surgery Scars

When you undergo surgery to remove gallstones and/or your gallbladder, you can prevent how much scarring you have after the surgery. The best way to do this is to treat the wound, following all directives from your doctor. Typically, you will be told to keep the incisions bandaged during the initial healing, and might also apply some antibiotic cream or other healing agent. You also want to minimize any movement, as this could reopen the wound, which will cause further scarring.

Scarring occurs because the skin tissue is damaged, and the more layers of skin that are damaged, the more prominent the scar will be and the longer it will last. Therefore, by keeping the trauma to the skin to a minimum and increasing the skin’s natural healing abilities, you will be able to reduce the amount of scarring you have after the surgery. Once the incision wounds have healed and you get the clear from your doctor, then you can apply a scar treatment cream that will help to further reduce the visibility of your scars.

Have a question about your surgery scars? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help!

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