I feel the scars on either side of my head are large and extreme, is this normal? How can I speed up the healing process? (photo
Doctor Answers 16
Scars following facelift
Hello. Thank you for your question. You are still very early in your recovery. It is normal for scars to still be somewhat inflamed and red in appearance. This should certainly improve with time. The redness of the scars will fade and the scars will blend better with the surrounding skin as they mature. It usually takes 9 - 12 months for a scar to fully mature. I would strongly encourage you to wear sunscreen and avoid excessive sun exposure to the scars to allow them to fade properly. You may also consider using silicone sheets or silicone gel scar cream to facilitate healing. Be patient with the healing process and things should improve significantly with time. Discuss your concerns with your primary surgeon and follow their recommendations. They may consider some laser treatments to the scars to help blend them in. I wish you the best in your recovery.
How can you speed up the healing process
Best Scar Management is important to minimize or completely hide from view, the telltale signs of your surgery—namely, scars. Both you and your surgeon want you to have the most minimal scarring possible. There are many possible causes for scars that are enlarged or not healing well. Unsightly scars are most commonly due to genetics, underlying medical conditions, or improper scar/wound care. The last part is very important and patients can make a noticeable difference in their scars’ appearance by following best scar management practices. Here are some simple tips.Scar Management tips:
- Minimize tension on the scar. Steri-Strips and/or surgical tape are often placed in non-hair bearing areas at the time of surgery to minimize tension and keep pressure over the scar. This minimizes the stress that can pull the scar apart (dehiscence) creating a wound and delaying healing time, and can make the scar wider, or more “ropy”. In the first few weeks after surgery, I recommend the use of Embrace Scar Therapy which is an adherent silicone sheeting pre-stretched when applied so as to offload tension on the scar.
- Keep your incision site/scar clean to prevent infection. Follow your surgeon’s wound care instructions to the letter with out modification. Never apply different products then recommended without first discussing them with your surgeon. This is especially important during the first few weeks. If there are any signs of infection, contact your surgeon’s office right away and/or see your doctor or his nurse immediately. Typical signs of infection may include redness outside the immediate incision site, asymmetric swelling, and drainage, of pus, fever, chills, and “feeling sick”.
- Protect your scars from the sun. Staying out of the sun is the best advice. Minimal exposure to sunlight is prevents hyperpigmentation (permanently turning brown) and other problems that can make the scar more noticeable. Sunscreen, at least 30 SPF and an overlying make camouflage make up additionally protects the scar from the suns harmful rays. This advice is especially important the first year following your surgery.
- Use specific scar maturation products recommended by your surgeon. Patients seem to have their own opinions on this touting everything from Pure Vit E, Coco butter, to Aloe Vera, etc but most have minimal benefit other than keeping the scar hydrated. Although hydration is important there are better, scientifically studied products with greater efficacy. Most of the scientific articles written about this subject indicate that topical silicone gel or silicone sheets work the best. The best product available in my opinion is the Embrace Scar Therapy System by Neodyne BioSciences, Inc. available in many surgeons’ offices. Essentially this is an adherent silicone sheeting pre-stretched when applied so as to offload tension on the scar. For areas that are not applicable for this product (e.g. smaller areas or on the face), I prefer BioCorneum or Kelo-Cote products There are a lot of products to choose from, but silicone should be one of the key ingredients. Although Mederma, an onion extract derivative active ingredient rather than mainly silicone based may help, primarily silicone based products are better and many also contain other ingredients that may be synergistic (hydrocortisone or other steroid, Vitamin E, Sunscreen, etc).. If the reader has problems obtaining these they can call my office. Patient compliance is also critical – use often and according to directions or it will not work optimally. NEVER apply products without first discussing them with your surgeon.
- Monitor to make sure your scar is progressing optimally. Keep your scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon to verify that your scars are maturing as expected. Occasionally if indicated you may need a topical steroid preparation or even a series of injections (5-FU and/or Steroids) or laser treatments to treat or prevent scar hypertrophy or keloid formation (red raised scars), or other topical medicines to treat post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (brown scars) with prescription creams and possible laser treatments.
Scar time line
Congratulations on your procedure and thanks for sharing your question. I can appreciate your concern.
It is very early to determine the final results on your scars. Usually it takes 6 months to a year to judge the final result. Avoid sun exposure to prevent pigmentation to the area.
Finally, make sure that your doctor is aware of your process. He should be able to guide you best in your care.
Wishing you the best in your journey
You might also like...
They say the best healer is time, and when it comes to scars, nothing is more true. All scars go through a maturation process, and the surgeon has little control over this . Some people scar well, some worse, but in nearly all cases, things get better with time. I tell patients that it can take up to a year. If there was one thing I wish I could prescribe for scars, it would be a time pill that could make 12 months pass instantaneously. Unfortunately, there is no such thing. Fortunately, you are very early in your healing process and chances are, when all is said and done, your scars will be very difficult for people to notice.
Laser scar therapy is the only proven treatment to fade scars quickly
Scar appearance, thickness and discoloration are unique to each person and driven by biology. Some people heal beautifully after plastic surgery while others who undergo the same procedures heal with thick, ropey and red scars. The red color is from tiny blood vessels running through the tissues and therefore using a laser that targets red blood cells will fade this discoloration. My wife, a BC dermatologist, treats my patients' scars very frequently, and she uses a type of laser called Nd:YAG and Laser Genesis is one of the best platforms that gives us consistent results:
Laser therapy is a very nuanced balance of art and science that requires specific training in dermatology (I don't purport to have such expertise and so I defer to my wife to treat my patients). Not everyone should wield these complex technologies and we've seen patients who have been burned or become hyperpigmented due to inexperienced and untrained providers offering laser treatment. So be careful and do your due diligence to seek experienced hands.
All the best in your search!
I agree with all the other answers. The scars will fade over time. Keep them out of the sun. Seems like there was a lot of lifting and your surgeon made a hairline incision in front of your hair so you would not loose a lot of hair. There is a trade off between an anterior scar and having your hairline moved way back.
Face lift scars - how to hurry up healing
- Your scars look fine although they go higher than the usual face lift -
- I assume your surgeon was doing some brow lifting as well or there was a lot of excess skin to tailor
- The redness is normal - and will fade.
- Healing is a biologic process that cannot be speeded up -
- Usually at this stage the best approach is to let your hair conceal them and/or apply concealer to cover the redness.
- Fading can take 6 months or longer - it varies from one person to another.
- At six months, a laser treatment can be done to fade them.
- Be sure your own surgeon knows your concerns - and follow any suggestions s/he may offer.
- Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS