What is the Future of Your Scar?
The fact of the matter is, surgical incisions leave a scar; there is no way around it. Discussing this aspect of surgery in the initial consultation is crucial, making sure you know what to expect and that you have all the facts to make well-informed decisions.
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The scars resulting from plastic surgery procedures are usually minimal and eventually become hardly noticeable. Typically, by the time patients attend their first consultation, they are already prepared to trade unwanted shapes or excess skin/fat for just a few scars. This is likely true because your critical eye gravitates towards the overwhelming improvement in shape, which far outweighs the appearance of scarring.
Genetics play an important role in how a person’s body heals itself, but there are numerous attributes when it comes to incisions that a detail-oriented plastic surgeon like Dr. Gurley considers to ensure a patient is left with the best scar possible.
What Makes a Great Scar? – The Plan. The Procedure. The Post-Op.
Since scar anatomy is a direct result of the precise placement, careful execution, and post-surgical care, we will delve into each of these aspects in detail.
The future of your scar begins in the consultation. Once Dr. Gurley and her patient have agreed on which surgical procedure(s) will address their concerns – the surgical design process begins. This entails a meticulous study of the patient’s unique physical composition in order to locate the best incision placement. Rest assured that Dr. Gurley does not take scar placement lightly.
Here is how Dr. Gurley plans her approach:
- First, she chooses the safest location of the incision(s) to perform the surgery.
- Then, she strategically conceals the scar as much as possible.
- Finally, she uses an appropriate length to optimize contour.
Since plastic surgeons must take safety and beauty into consideration, a short scar is not always the best scar. Dr. Gurley says, “At times I will lengthen a scar in order to improve contour or size just like a pleat in a pair of pants. A short pleat in the material may not allow the garment to lay smooth against the body, while a longer pleat allows the fabric to lay perfectly flat resulting in a more beautiful shape.”
Surgical incisions, and subsequent scars, are meticulously crafted in controlled environments and deliberately created under sterile conditions with high-quality equipment. Consequently, their healing process tends to be more predictable compared to scars resulting from trauma.
During surgery, a precise blade is used to delicately cut the skin. Once the procedure is complete, stitches are used to help bring the skin back together. It is vital that this is done with great care to avoid raised scarring – known as hypertrophic scarring – from the skin being too taut during the healing process.
Once you are home and healing, the post-op care of your incision begins, and Dr. Gurley and her staff are there to support you every step of the way.
Within about two days the incision begins its healing journey as the skin gradually gains strength. Growth factors, collagen and elastin are some of the elements at play throughout this process. Initially, the collagen formation creates a web of fibers that presents as redness and swelling for about 2-4 months. Eventually, the collagen aligns and the scar “lays down,” reducing its prominence and color. Nature is a beautiful thing and our body’s ability to heal itself over time plays the biggest role in the future of your scar.
The Gurley Difference.
While Mother Nature does a lot of the work for you, guided self-care is pertinent after any operation. Remember, every scar has its own story and unique way of healing, but you do have some control over the outcome.
From Day 1, Dr. Gurley and her staff map out a personalized post-op plan for success! When it comes to incision care this may include elements such as customized garments, compression, and of course detailed plans for incision hygiene. Wearing the right garments and maintaining a clean incision are absolutely vital to make certain your skin stays healthy and happy as it heals.
Dr. Gurley will also schedule several post-op visits to keep her eye on you both physically and mentally as you go through the healing process. Between visits patients can expect frequent calls from staff just to check-in and make sure all questions and concerns are heard and answered. The Gurley Difference is that operation day is only the beginning of the relationship – not the end. From the first phone call to the last diminishing scar, Dr. Gurley and her team are there every step of the way.
Is the fear of scarring holding you back from your dreams? Call Judith Gurley Plastic Surgery to set up a consultation.
No one will know… Everyone will notice.™
Judy Gurley, M.D., F.A.C.S.
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