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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I minimise the appearance of scars after cosmetic surgery?

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    Dr Anh Nguyen

    Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Dr Anh Nguyen (MBBS (Hons) PGradDipSurgAnat FRACS (Plast)) is a highly qualified, Australian-trained and registered Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon based in Perth, WA. She ... View Profile

    Scars take up to 18 months to 2 years to mature, and there are many factors that contribute to achieving a fine inconspicous scar.

    There are surgical factors such as scar placement, precise tension-free and plastic surgical closure which contribute to scar outcome.

    Then there are patient factors such as wound healing capacity, tendency to keloid and hypertrophic scarring, location of the scar and patient care of the wound.

    Naturally if one has a tendency to forming thick ugly scars, that is largely genetic and difficult to control. But there is plenty of evidence to suggest that there are things we can do to help produce fine scars, such as good wound care so the wound heals expeditiously without infection. Eating a healthy diet high in protein, iron, vitamins and minerals also helps. Massaging the scar helps flatten scars. Applying moisturiser to the scar regularly keep the wound moist which aids wound healing. Stopping smoking and optimising diabetes helps reduce scarring. Sun protection is also critical for getting a nice scar as the sun will damage the skin and promote aberrant scarring. It is best to protect the scar from the sun for the first 2 years after surgery.

    Once a scar become thick, discoloured, itchy and unattractive, it is much more difficult to treat but can still be improved with silicone gel or sheets, pressure to the scar, steroid injections to the scar and other multimodality treatment.

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