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What Is The Healing Process For Plastic Surgery Scars?

By: Austin-Weston


Scarring is an unavoidable consequence of most surgical procedures and is one of the most frequently discussed topics between plastic surgeons and their patients. Fortunately, many cosmetic surgery scars are scarcely visible. Furthermore, qualified and experienced plastic surgeons can provide highly effective tools and tips for ensuring that your incisions heal in the most aesthetically pleasing manner possible. Use this helpful information from the award-winning team of plastic surgeons at Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery in Reston, VA to learn more about what you can expect after plastic surgery as your incisions heal and your scars fade.

How long does a cosmetic surgery incision take to close?

Before a scar can begin to fade, the incision itself must first heal and close completely. Depending on the size, location, and nature of the incision – in addition to the patient’s skin type and propensity for healing – this process may take about 1 – 3 weeks. During this time, it is critical that patients follow their surgeon’s incision care guidelines, which will likely include:

  • Do not submerge the incision (includes bathtubs, hot tubs, and pools)
  • Keep the incision clean and dressed as directed
  • Do not smoke
  • Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated
  • Avoid physical strain or exercise, particularly in the area of the incision
  • Attend follow-up appointments
  • Watch for signs of infection, including redness, red streaks, warmth, pus, and fever

How long will my scar take to fade after plastic surgery?

Again, the fading process for plastic surgery scars can vary somewhat from patient to patient, depending on the location and type of incision, the patient’s lifestyle, and other individual factors. Once the surgical incision has closed, a scar will begin to form. Scars usually start out raised and red but will begin to flatten and fade over time, going from red to pink and ultimately to a white or skin-colored tone. Fading can take up to 12 months or longer, but most patients will not see any further fading after the two-year mark.

What will my scars look like after cosmetic surgery?

In most cosmetic surgeries, incisions are relatively thin and positioned as inconspicuously as possible. The skilled plastic surgeons at Austin-Weston understand the desire to keep visible scarring to a minimum and make every effort to place incisions where they can be concealed underneath clothing or disguised within the body’s natural contours whenever possible. For example, tummy tuck incisions are typically placed on the lower abdomen just above the pubic area, allowing patients to hide them beneath undergarments and swimsuits easily. However, the precise location, length, and other characteristics of your cosmetic surgery scars will depend on the procedure you have performed, the approach used, and the skill of the surgeon.

How can I make my scars heal faster?

It is important to allow your body plenty of time to recover following plastic surgery. While you should not attempt to rush the process, there are some beneficial things you can do to ensure proper healing of your incisions and fading of your scars, including:

  • Do not smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid sun exposure to the incision and scar
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Use recommended topical agents, such as silicone strips and specialized ointments
  • Take recommended supplements and medications
  • Practice scar massage if advised by your surgeon

For most patients, scarring is an expected and accepted part of the cosmetic surgery process and a small sacrifice for the stunning results that can be achieved. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your scar from a previous procedure, don’t hesitate to talk to your Austin-Weston surgeon about options for scar revision or removal.

Choose an experienced surgeon to minimize your scarring after cosmetic surgery in Northern Virginia

There is no doubt that choosing an experienced, skilled, and qualified plastic surgeon is one of the best ways to minimize your risk of complications, including unsightly scarring and poor healing. Our renowned team of plastic surgeons at Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery has many decades of combined experience and success in helping patients achieve gorgeous results with minimal scarring. Call us today to schedule your private in-office or virtual consultation, and learn more about the life-changing possibilities of cosmetic surgery in Reston, VA!


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