How to Treat and Fade Appendectomy Scars

How to Treat and Fade Appendectomy Scars

Records of the first appendectomy date back to 1735, with French surgeon Claudius Amyand removing perforated tissue from an 11-year-old boy. Since then the procedure has become one of the most common in the world, with approximately 270,000 performed each year in the United States alone.

What is an Appendectomy?

An appendectomy is the removal of the appendix, usually because of appendicitis. The appendix is a vestigial organ which means that the body doesn’t really need it anymore. It is part of the large intestine.

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed, usually because of a blockage. Appendicitis can cause intense pain and high fevers.

An “open appendectomy” involves a single short incision in the abdominal wall. A “laparoscopic appendectomy” involves several smaller, less obvious incisions. The base of the appendix is tied off where it joins the colon allowing its safe removal.

Does Scarring Occur After an Appendectomy?

Though considered minimally invasive, an appendectomy will still leave scars. These are typically shallow marks along the stomach or across the hip, and they are usually no more than 2-inches to 3-inches long.

Read More: Surgery Scars

Which Treatment Options are Available?

Appendectomy scars will fade naturally over time with most people – if treated properly (sun protection, proper wound healing, etc.) However, some patients may want to expedite this process. Others may develop quite prominent scars which they feel self-conscious about.

Help the Incision Heal Properly

Infection can cause healing problems and scarring. One of the most important things to do after surgery is to care for the incision properly. Keep it clean, applying both a bandage and antibiotic ointment to minimize infection. Be certain to dry the site after bathing, avoid sun exposure, and maintain a healthy diet (foods rich in protein and antioxidants will strengthen the healing process.)

Topical Scar Creams

Scarring occurs when the body creates excess collagen, which changes the texture and appearance of the tissue. If your body over produces melanin, then your scar will be dark (hyperpigmentation) or if it is under-produced, your scar will be void of color/white (hypopigmentation.) Topical treatments can help improve you scar’s appearance and feel. When applying your scar treatment, be sure to firmly massage the scar. This will help to soften the scar tissue and flatten it (unless it is a keloid or hypertrophic scar.)

Have a question about your appendectomy scar? Leave us a comment!

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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.
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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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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Can You Reduce the Size of Acne Scars?

Can You Reduce the Size of Acne Scars?

After battling acne to finally get it under control, many people are left with prominent scars that continue to mar their complexion. If this is the case, then you are looking for ways to reduce the size and appearance of your acne scars. There are several different types of acne scars, and the type of scarring you have may affect the type of treatment most effective for your situation. However, most acne scars can be minimized and faded.

The Different Types of Acne Scars

The severity of your acne and how you treated — or did not treat — any outbreaks affects the type of scarring with which you are left. One of the most common types of acne scarring is known as ice pick scars, which are deep scarring that creates a pitted look in the skin. They are formed due to cysts or inflammation that affects several layers of skin. A similar type of scarring is known as boxcar scars, which are wider than ice pick scars. You may also have scarring known as rolling scars, which creates waves under otherwise normal skin due to fibrous bands of tissue growing between the skin and underlying tissue. Lastly, you may have keloid or hypertrophic scars, which are large, unsightly raised scars.

You might also have other remaining effects from your acne in the form of discoloration of the skin, which are not technically scars but do create problems. This could be either hyperpigmentation, where the scars have excess pigmentation and will look like freckles or blotches on the skin, or hypopigmentation, where there will be no pigment, leaving the mark as white. The skin may also remain red due to damage to the small capillaries in the skin.

How to Reduce the Size of Acne Scars

You can reduce the size of your acne scars, but the best treatment differs based upon the type of acne scarring you have. If you are left with discoloration such as red marks or dark spots after your acne is under control, then you can benefit from using a scar fading cream that helps your skin resume normal pigment production. Smaller and lighter scars can also benefit from scar treatment creams. You want to be sure to use ingredients that are natural and will help the skin’s own natural healing process, including licorice root extract, which lightens any dark spots, and vitamin C, which helps to rebuild collagen and normalize skin growth.

If you have more prominent scars, then you may need to undergo a more invasive skin care treatment, such as laser surgery, subcision, punch excision, grafting, dermabrasion, or dermal fillers. Scar reduction cream can also work on many scars, including hypertrophic scars, especially if it includes silicone as one of the ingredients. Scar treatment creams can only reduce the size and appearance of scars, but they usually do not completely eliminate very prominent scarring. One option that is becoming very popular among those with hypopigmented acne scars, is having the skin tattooed the same color as your flesh so as to camoflauge the scar. You can discuss the different types of treatment, especially the more invasive treatments, with your dermatologist or doctor to find the best solution for your unique situation.

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

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Should I See a Dermatologist About My Scars?

Should I See a Dermatologist About My Scars?

When you have a prominent and unsightly scar, especially in a location not easily hidden by clothing, you likely want to work on minimizing its appearance. There are many different scar treatment options, and the most effective for you will depend on the type and severity of scarring from which you suffer. There are many scar treatment options that do not require any doctor’s intervention. However, there are times where seeing a dermatologist about your scars is the best way to proceed. Therefore, it is beneficial to know when you should see a dermatologist about your scars.

What Does a Dermatologist Do?

Dermatologists are specialized doctors who work on conditions affecting the skin, including acne, scarring, eczema, and more. Therefore, they are experts in solutions for reducing the appearance of scars, especially prominent ones such as keloid scars. They also offer more invasive procedures to remove scars, including laser surgery, dermabrasion, grafting, and more. However, not all scars require the assistance of a dermatologist to treat.

What Type of Scars Require a Dermatologist?

Large, prominent, and raised scars, especially keloid scars, will most likely not find any help from a scar treatment cream. Instead, you will need to see a dermatologist to discuss other scar treatment options. Any injury to the skin that harmed many layers of the skin tissue, such as a third degree burn, or did not heal correctly typically forms a larger and more prominent scar that will need more advanced treatment options to reduce the appearance of the scars. Certain acne scars, including ice pick scars, rolling scars, and boxcar scars also often require more invasive treatments offered by dermatologists.

When Don’t You Need to See a Dermatologist?

Any time you have scarring or other skin conditions about which you have a question, you can typically benefit from the expertise of a dermatologist. However, for less prominent scars, you do not have to see a dermatologist for help. These include scars formed by injury to the skin that only affects the top layers of skin or from wounds that healed correctly, such as occur after surgery or with some cases of acne. Those scars that have not caused much damage to the collagen or to deeper layers of skin can typically be reduced by over the counter scar treatment creams. You can also use many of these scar reduction creams for pigmentation problems, such as hyperpigmentation, also known as dark spots. For hypopigmentation (aka white scars) tattooing a white scar flesh-colored is also an option. Over the counter creams are beneficial, but they do take time to work. If you do not see any improvement in the appearance of your scar or discoloration after you have been using the cream for a few months, then you should see a dermatologist for help.

A dermatologist can be your partner and best friend when it comes to ensuring you have smooth and flawless skin, especially when you are working to reduce the appearance of any scarring. They not only will be able to offer you help with the invasive procedures, but they can also provide expert advice on the best ingredients for an effective scar treatment cream.

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

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