Will My Lip Lift Scar Get Better?

Q: I had a bullhorn lip lift three weeks ago and feel that the scar under my nose is quite hard (harder when I start talking) and still visible. Can you please tell me if the scar will soften and dissappear eventually? I much appreciate a second opinion.

A: The healing of scars from a surgical incision, as well as from any injury, is much different than most people perceive. When people see the dressings or tapes from a  surgical incision, or the sutures placed to close it, removed a week or so later, they are often surprised how well it looks. When viewing the same scar weeks to a month later, it will look worse and some patients feel that something is going wrong.

In reality, this is part of the normal healing process. Actual healing of a wound or incision does even start to take place for weeks. That is why it looks so good just a week later, nothing is really going on and the body is not reacting fully to the insult. The scar will naturally turn redder and get firm weeks later as the body recruits the necessary elements to actually heal the incision. Blood vessels grow in and collagen is laid down to help knit the tissues back together. Collectively, this natural healing process creates a red and firm scar for months. Once the incision is getting more healed the redness fades and it will get softer, eventually getting that faded scar and softness of the tissues.

This healing process takes months and often is only complete at close to a year after the surgery. At this point, it will return to what it looked like at just a week or so after the initial surgery. When the incision is just under your nose, from a lip lift, one is forced to look at it daily. One’s awareness and uncertainly as to what will happen with it is understandably high.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana