How to Minimize Plastic Surgery Scars

How to Minimize Plastic Surgery Scars

The decision to have plastic surgery is a major and personal one. Patients can often achieve an improved appearance through plastic surgery, which makes it tremendously popular, and most patients are thrilled with their results. However, post-surgery scarring is one of the downfalls – and anytime an incision is made to the skin, there will be a scar. The risk of severe scarring is enough to make some patients rethink their decision to have plastic surgery at all, but scarring can be minimized by optimal placement and proper aftercare.

Choose Your Surgeon Carefully
The surgical technique used has a major impact on what kind of scarring you can expect. Choose an experienced, board certified surgeon and discuss the types of incisions and suturing he or she uses, as well as what kind of scarring you can expect.

Don’t Smoke
Smoking affects scar healing in several ways. First of all, it increases your chances of having complications such as infection, which delays wound healing and exacerbates scarring. Smoking also affects the oxygenation of your tissues by causing your blood vessels to constrict. This allows less oxygen to get to the wound, which impedes healing. The increased carbon monoxide in your bloodstream is another way smoking decreases the amount of oxygen in your blood. Finally, smoking depletes Vitamin C faster, and Vitamin C is important in collagen formation and immune system function, as well as being a powerful antioxidant.

Try Silicone Scar Treatments
Silicone sheeting and topical gels work to improve the appearance of scars by reducing the color and height of the scar and softening its texture. Silicone increases hydration in the area, regulates growth factors such as collagen production, and reduces the discomfort and itching sometimes caused by scars.

Use Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has been shown to promote wound healing and inhibit inflammation. Aloe Vera can be used on healing wounds (not open wounds) to reduce scar formation with its glycoproteins, which stop inflammation and pain, and its polysaccharides, which encourage skin growth and repair. You can either apply Aloe Vera straight from the plant or you can use an ointment or gel containing it as an ingredient.

Avoid Ingredients Not Shown to Be Helpful
Vitamin E, though a popular anti-aging ingredient, has been shown to be at best ineffective and at worst harmful to scars, having a worsening effect rather than the opposite. In fact, 1 in 3 people are allergic to Vitamin E and develop contact dermatitis. Oftentimes people believe that Vitamin E has helped with their scar healing, however it is only the moisturizing effect that has made a difference.

Other ingredients, such as Aloe Vera, licorice, and silicone, are known to have a much greater positive effect on scar healing. You should also avoid any products containing artificial ingredients like preservatives, parabens, and fragrances. These products increase the risk of allergic reaction or irritation, for starters. Hydroquinone and kojic acid are other ingredients that are harmful and should be avoided.

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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.
Breast Reconstruction Questions and Answers

Breast Reconstruction Questions and Answers

Oftentimes, women don’t realize (or aren’t told by their doctor) that breast reconstruction is available to them after mastectomy.  The inventor, and doctor, behind InviCible Scars is Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo, who specializes in state-of-the-art breast reconstruction and cosmetic surgery at PRMA Center for Advanced Breast Reconstruction in San Antonio, Texas.

“Dr. C” was named one of “America’s Top Surgeons” and was also a recipient of the San Antonio Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under Forty” Award (2007). Dr C is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and is also an active member in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, the Plastic Surgery Education Foundation, the San Antonio International Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the Texas Medical Society.

He answered some questions regarding breast reconstruction that we hope you find helpful:

1. What is the most common reason you see women in your practice for breast reconstruction?

– Women recently diagnosed with breast cancer and facing mastectomy

– Women at high risk of breast cancer (eg BRCA+, strong family history) and considering prophylactic mastectomy

– Women that have already completed their breast cancer treatment including lumpectomy or mastectomy, who are now seeking reconstruction or improved breast symmetry.

2. What are some options for breast reconstruction if the patient has had a mastectomy?

There are various options that fall under 2 main types of procedures: those that use the patient’s own tissue to recreate a “natural” breast, or breast implants.

3. Can women expect that their new breasts will look, feel and have the same sensations as before?

That really does depend on the individual situation. If the reconstruction is performed at the same time as the mastectomy, the results can be very good indeed: excellent cosmetic results (some women feel “even better than before” in terms of appearance), and very natural. Reconstructions using the patient’s own tissue tend to create much more natural results than breast implants. Breast implants can also provide very nice results in good candidates.

Delayed reconstruction (reconstruction performed some time after the mastectomy) can also provide very good results, but generally not as good in terms of the final cosmetic result because it usually leaves more scarring.

Unfortunately, it is rare for women to maintain the same level of feeling in their breasts after reconstruction. It is possible for some patients to maintain or regain some feeling but it is typically nowhere near what Mother Nature provided. Some patients are candidates for sensory nerve reconstruction in conjunction with DIEP flap or SIEA flap reconstruction. This reconnects nerves that supply feeling to the breast and allows for improved long term sensation in the reconstructed breast. However, even if this nerve reconstruction is successful, it’s rare for women to regain the sensation they had before the mastectomy.

4. Are there risks associated with breast reconstruction?

Yes, but thankfully complications are uncommon. Unfortunately all surgery has risks. The main risk is that the reconstruction doesn’t work which can lead to more surgery.

5. Will there be extensive scarring?

This depends on the procedure the patient chooses. Most procedures that involve using the patient’s own tissue involve scarring on a part of the body other than the breasts (i.e. where the tissue came from.) For example the DIEP flap, today’s gold standard in breast reconstruction, uses the patient’s own abdominal skin and fat to reconstruct a natural, warm, soft breast. The excess lower tummy skin and fat are removed similar to a “tummy tuck”. This provides the patient with the added benefit of a tummy tuck, but also creates additional scarring over the lower abdomen.

These breast reconstruction before and after pictures show the typical scars associated with the procedures performed at PRMA.

Do you have further questions about breast reconstruction that weren’t answered in this post? Leave a comment and Dr. Chrysopoulo will be happy to answer them.

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What is Breast Reduction Surgery?

What is Breast Reduction Surgery?

Breast reduction surgery is also known as reduction mammaplasty. The surgery removes excess breast tissue and skin to decrease the overall size of the breast. Breast reduction creates breasts that are in better proportion with the rest of the body and usually alleviates the discomfort often associated with breasts that are overly large.

The medical term for “overly large breasts” is Breast Hypertrophy. Breast Hypertrophy can cause many different symptoms and concerns for women. Common complaints include neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, shoulder bra strap grooving, and rashes. It can also negatively impact self-esteem and make it hard for women to find appropriate clothing they feel comfortable wearing. Thankfully, many insurance companies cover the cost of breast reduction surgery because of these issues.

Of all plastic surgery procedures, breast reduction offers the highest satisfaction ratings. Patients experience relief from neck and back pain and a substantial improvement to their posture. It can also prevent skeletal deformities and arthritis, which often develop over time in larger breasted women. Additionally, this type of surgery offers many women an improvement to their overall lifestyle. Everyday life becomes much easier to navigate, especially exercise routines. When women experience the freedom from the additional breast weight, they are more confident and likely to try new activities.

Depending on the degree of reduction that is required, a variety of incisions are used. Many patients are prime candidates for a procedure that is minimally invasive or also known as a short-scar technique. This type of technique uses smaller incisions to decrease the amount of scarring on the breast. For breast reduction scarring, it is advisable to use a silicone gel consistently once your surgeon gives the OK. This will help to fade and minimize them further, making them practically invisible. However, there are other factors that contribute to how your breast reduction scars will heal, such as nutrition, wearing sunscreen and exercise.

Deciding to have a breast reduction procedure is a very personal decision. You will have to decide if the benefits offered are right for you and if you can accept the potential risks and complications that could arise. Your plastic surgeon will go over all of the risks that can be associated with the procedure with you in full detail. You will also have to sign the proper consent forms as this ensures you fully understand the procedure and any potential complications or risks. The main risks are bleeding, infection, wound healing problems, loss of feeling, ugly scarring, and contour defects. Women must also know that significant weight gain after the surgery can cause further breast enlargement and a return of associated problems. All women that have the surgery should therefore plan to keep their weight stable to ensure the best long term results.

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