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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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.

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Eyelid Surgery Scar Treatment

Eyelid Surgery Scar Treatment

Eyelid surgery, known as blepharoplasty, can improve the appearance of the skin around your eyes, as well as treat some vision problems caused by droopy eyelids. Just like any surgery, it involves an incision that can form a scar. Knowledge about the surgery, the risks, and treatment for your incision can help you to reduce the appearance of your scar.

What is Eyelid Surgery?

Eyelid surgery is a cosmetic surgery that is typically performed to reduce bagginess in the lower eyelid or remove any excess skin or fatty deposits in the upper eyelid. It only treats problems in the eyelids themselves, rather than any under eye circles, crow’s feet, laugh lines, and other wrinkles in the face. There are some risks involved with the surgery, including temporary blurred or double vision. You may also experience dry eyes or trouble closing your eyes, which is also temporary. Your surgeon will most likely recommend some type of eye drops or other moisturizing treatment to reduce any dry eyes, as well as other treatments to reduce any after-effects.

What can Eyelid Surgery Treat?

Eyelid surgery is most commonly done as a cosmetic surgery to treat the unsightly appearance caused by sagging eyelids. As people age, the skin naturally begins to lose elasticity, which combined with gravity causes sagging. When this happens in the eyelids, it is not just unsightly – it can also cause vision problems. This could include loose or sagging skin, especially when it causes disruption in the natural contour of your eyelids or impairs your vision. Certain causes of under eye bags and drooping lower eyelids can also be treated with this surgery. People who have fatty deposits in the eyelids that make it seem as though their eyes are puffy can also find help with this surgery.

Does Eyelid Surgery Leave Scars?

When a surgeon performs blepharoplasty, he or she will try to match the surgery incision with the natural folds of the eyes, reducing the appearance of any scars. After the excess skin or fatty deposits are removed, the surgeon will insert stitches to help the incision wound heal faster. Although the incision will be in an area that will look similar to a natural crease of the eye lid, you can help it to heal and minimize scarring. This includes treating the incision wound according to your doctor’s orders, including keeping the area clean and dry for the first week or so during the initial healing stage. You also want to wear large sunglasses that block UV rays to reduce any damage caused by the sun.

Once your incision has healed completely, including any scabs, you can apply a scar cream to facilitate the healing process and reduce the amount of time you will have a prominent scar. Since the eyelids are a sensitive area, you want to use a product that will be gentle, especially as it may run into your eyes. A scar treatment that uses gentle, natural ingredients is often the best option. You can also talk to your doctor about the best products for your situation.

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

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Open Heart Surgery Scars

Open Heart Surgery Scars

Open heart surgery can be a lifesaver, but it also leaves you with a lifetime reminder in the form of a scar. Any heart surgery that requires the chest to be opened so that the heart is exposed falls under the category of open heart surgery. In order for it to be performed, the sternum, or breastbone, has to be opened to expose the heart, which requires a lengthy vertical incision on the chest. Many heart procedures are starting to use more minimally invasive techniques, which are safer and leave minimal scarring. You have options for reducing the scarring regardless of the type of heart surgery you undergo.

What type of Procedures Require Open Heart Surgery

The most common reason for heart surgery is coronary artery bypass grafting, which grafts a healthy artery or vein as a replacement for a blocked artery. Other common reasons for heart surgery include coronary heart disease, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, pacemakers and other medical devices, and heart transplants. Angioplasty, another common heart procedure, typically does not require opening up the chest cavity. A traditional open heart surgery will have a long incision, which can be up to 10 inches. The newer, less invasive procedures still require an incision, but it will be much smaller. There are two types of minimally invasive surgeries, including endoscopic surgery and robot-assisted valve surgery.

How to Take Care of Your Surgery Incision

One of the best ways to reduce the scarring from your procedure is to properly care for your incision. Most patients will remain in hospital while the incision on the skin heals, so it will be treated by healthcare professionals. However, once you are discharged, you will still need to take care of the wound by yourself. You should avoid putting any type of lotion or ointments on the area until the area has completely healed, including any scabs. If you notice any signs of infections, visit your doctor right away. You will most likely feel itching around the newly formed scar, which is a normal part of the healing process. Do not succumb to the temptation to itch, as it can damage the newly formed skin and lead to a more pronounced scarring.

How to Reduce the Appearance of your Scar

Any further trauma will add to the damage of the skin, which will interrupt the healing process and increase the amount of scar tissue in the area. Therefore, you should wear clothing that will not exacerbate the incision area, including choosing a softer bra if you are female. Additionally, you want to protect the area from the sun for at least the first two years of healing. This reduces any further damage caused by UV rays. The easiest way to protect it is to wear UPV clothing, which will lend more sun protection than just a typical shirt alone. If you do wear something outside that exposes the area, wear sunscreen with a high SPF. Once your incision has healed completely, you can treat it with a scar treatment cream to expedite the body’s natural healing process, which will help the scar to fade faster.

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

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