Woman with plastic surgeon, discussing concerns about scarring.

Should You Be Concerned About Scarring?

Will I end up with a scar following cosmetic surgery, and are there ways to make it less noticeable?

When someone considers having cosmetic surgery or any type of surgery, for that matter, ending up with a visible and unattractive scar is always a concern. Scarring is a natural part of healing. This is true whether the integrity of the skin has been accidentally breached as the result of a wound, disease or skin condition or whether it was done deliberately by surgical incision. 

As soon as the body recognizes that there has been damage, its internal repair mechanisms go into action. New collagen fibers are created to mend the damage. This is a very efficient process and one that we should be thankful for. The quicker and more thoroughly a wound is closed, the less possibility there will be for the damage to get worse or infection to set in. 

Unfortunately, the tissue that forms over the wound, the scar tissue, will not exactly match that of the surrounding tissue. The texture, color and quality will be different. How noticeable this will be will depend on several factors. The most common of these include:

  • extent and severity of the wound or incision
  • age
  • gender
  • ethnicity

The likelihood of scarring following your procedure is something that your plastic surgeon will discuss with you during your initial consultation. It is important for you to be aware of the potential and have realistic expectations. While scars may fade with time, they are permanent. That said, there are a wide range of treatment options for improving the appearance of scarring. 

Treatment Options for Scarring

Whether as a result of surgery or from an injury, disease or condition such as acne, there are treatment methods for reducing the visibility of scarring. Some of the most common of these are:

  • Dermabrasion – this process uses a rapidly rotating device to remove the outer or surface layer of the skin, including the outer layers of the scar, which reduces its size.
  • Microdermabrasion – the same as dermabrasion but less extreme. This is typically recommended when there is only minor scarring.
  • Laser resurfacing – this is basically the same process as dermabrasion, with lasers being used in place of the rotating equipment. 
  • OTC skincare treatments – the use of over-the-counter topical products, like creams with vitamin E and cocoa butter, may enhance healing and soften the skin, which, in turn, may help to diminish the appearance of any scar tissue.  
  • Steroids – corticosteroid solutions injected into the scar may help to flatten it. 
  • Radiotherapy – low dose radiation treatment is sometimes used in more extreme cases of scarring.
  • Microneedling – sometimes used in cases of significant acne scarring. With microneedling, tiny punctures are made into the scar which stimulates new collagen production. The theory behind this is that the new collagen will help smooth out the area and the acne damage will become less visible.  
  • Surgical scar revision – these include skin grafts, excision surgery, flap surgery and repositioning (Z-plasty). Which of these your plastic surgeon will recommend will depend on the type, location and severity of the scarring. 

Dr. Brian D. Cohen is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive training in cosmetic/reconstructive plastic surgery and has had years of experience performing a wide array of cosmetic surgery procedures, specializing in procedures of the face, eyes, nose, breast and body and is known for his exemplary and compassionate care by his patients. Knowing that Dr. Cohen has been selected by his peers in Super Doctors for 8 years in a row in 2020 gives you the confidence that he is highly respected for his performance in his specialty.

Information on locations and office hours for Cohen Plastic Surgery can be found by clicking here