Care of Scars After Plastic Surgery
Surgical incisions and the scars they create are a concern for many patients. After surgery, most people ask how to take care of a scar so that it eventually looks as unnoticeable as possible. While time and the mature healing of wound tissue is a major element in the ultimate appearance of a scar, there are a variety of things that you can do to affect both the speed and final look of your scars.
- If your surgical incisions are left open at the end of the operation (usually occurring in facial procedures), keep them covered with Bacitracin ointment 2 to 3 times per day. Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of the Bacitracin is to keep the incision/sutures soft (for easier removal), not to decrease the risk of infection. Once the sutures are removed, apply a very light layer of Bacitracin ointment twice a day for an additional week.
- If the surgical incisions are taped (usually body procedures), leave the tapes on until Dr. Eppley removes them. It is perfectly acceptable to get the tapes wet in the shower. They will not easily fall off as they are glued in place. When your tapes are removed for the first time, new tapes may or may not be put back to cover the incisions for another week.
- Scar management strategies, and your participation, generally begins about three (3) weeks after your surgery. At this time, all sutures and tapes have been removed and the incision is sufficiently healed to start topical therapies.The best topical treatment to apply is SCARGUARD, a proprietary blend of Vitamin E, hydrocortisone (steroid), and silicone. These are the only three topical agents that are known to improve scars. Three weeks after surgery, apply SCARGAURD twice a day-in the morning and evening. It is easy to apply, and dries quickly and invisibly.
- Apply SCARGUARD between three weeks and three months after surgery. This is the most effective time to affect how the scar will eventually look.
- Scars that are exposed to direct sunlight in the first 6 months following surgery may have a tendency to darken and become rougher in texture. Exposure to UV rays does not have a positive effect on the final look of scars, so it is crucial to protect them during outdoor activities when prolonged exposure to sun may occur. For good sun protection, Dr. Eppley recommends applying a broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB filter) sun protection (SPF 30 or greater) also doubles as an excellent daily moisturizer which is also good for scars.
- In some cases, occlusive taping or silicone sheeting of the scars (e.g., breasts, abdomen) may be recommended in certain body areas that are prone to poor scarring. Materials and application instructions will be provided at that time should this scar technique be felt to be beneficial.
- Both SCARGUARD and suncreen are available for purchase at our Ology offices during your follow-up appointments.