Five Factors that Affect Plastic Surgery Scarring

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These blogs and testimonial posts typically are by dissatisfied patients, many of whom have valid claims. However, truth be known, visible plastic surgery scarring often is a result of a patient's lifestyle choices and/or failure to carefully follow a physician's instructions.

Five primary preventable mistakes contribute to how well or how poorly a plastic surgery scar heals: smoking, excessive alcohol use, sun exposure, movement and removal of bandages.

Smoking: Smoking levies a carbon monoxide effect on blood's oxygen carrying capacity and nicotine constricts blood vessels, greatly diminishing blood flow over time. Since oxygen is critical to healing, these factors reduce the skins ability to heal properly.

Alcohol: Alcohol dehydrates the skin and body, thins the blood, slows healing and increases bruising. It also can lead to postoperative edema (swelling) and fluid retention.

Sun exposure: A top determining factor in your plastic surgery results is the health of your skin going into the surgery. So it stands to reason that sun damaged skin won't fare as well as skin that has been protected. Plus, sun exposure can cause darkening and thickening of plastic surgery scars for up to a year afterward.

Movement: Taking it easy after surgery isn't just about making sure you get enough rest. It's also about avoiding unnecessary scarring. Excessive movement can cause swelling and prevent cross-linking of collagen and fibrin - the natural process that holds the wound together. Forceful movement can pull the incision apart.

Removal of bandages: It's tempting, of course, to take a peek at your incisions after surgery. But that quick peek can compromise your healing if you pull or scratch at the incision in the process. Plus, keeping a fresh wound clean is critical for avoiding infection and further scarring.

To make sure your plastic surgery scarring is minimized, adopt and maintain a lifestyle that protects your skin from sun exposure and unhealthy substances (nicotine and alcohol). Cleanse, tone and moisturize your skin daily and feed it with a nutritious diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of water. Get restorative rest and, above all, follow your plastic surgeon's instructions without fail.

As double Board Certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, Dr. Phillip and Roberto Garcia of Garcia Facial Plastic Surgery and Reviva Medical Spa are specialists in plastic reconstructive and cosmetic surgery for aging face procedures, rhinoplasty (nasal surgery), and eyelid plastic surgery.

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