For those who need facial surgery, scarring is one of the biggest concerns.
Scars cannot be completely prevented in many cases, but with proper care, they can be minimized. Over time, many incisions fade to the point of being nearly invisible.
By taking an active role during the healing process, you can help reduce your facial scarring after surgery.
Risk Factors for Facial Surgery Scarring
Scarring isn’t the same for every patient — not even those who have identical procedures performed by the same oral surgeon. A variety of factors, many of which are outside of your control, influence the healing process after facial surgery.
Age is the first significant factor.
As you age, your skin loses collagen, making it thinner and less elastic. Sun exposure, smoking and other environmental and lifestyle issues can also cause skin damage. As a result of these changes, older skin doesn’t heal as well or as quickly as younger skin.
The next consideration is your skin tone.
If you have a darker complexion, you have a higher risk of developing an overgrowth of tissue known as keloid scarring. Keloids are firm, hard growths that are larger than the original wound. Although the risk of developing keloid scarring is relatively low, they are much less common in patients with pale skin.
The size and depth of your incision also can affect how it heals. A facial surgery procedure that requires a large, deep incision is much more likely to leave a scar than one with a smaller incision.
Caring for Your Facial Surgery Wounds
Prior to your facial surgery, we will provide you with detailed instructions about caring for your incisions.
Keeping the wounds moist can help speed healing and reduce scarring, and you may be advised to apply an ointment to the area regularly. After the sutures are removed, gently massaging the skin around the wounds can increase the blood flow and prevent scar tissue from forming.
You’ll also be advised to be gentle when cleaning the surgery site, which means no scrubbing or abrasive cleansers.
As you heal, keep an eye out for symptoms of infection, including redness, swelling, fever or discharge from the wounds. An infection can lead to a bigger scar, so it is important to contact our office at the first sign of infection.
Minimize Your Chances of Scarring After Facial Surgery
In addition to proper wound care, you can take further steps to reduce facial scarring after surgery.
- Do not put any stress on the incision. Stress can pull the incision apart, resulting in a larger wound and scar.
- Be sure to stay out of the sun and apply sunscreen, as exposure can discolor your scars.
And avoid cigarettes and alcohol. Smoking and drinking slow healing and increase the risk for scarring.
- Stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet and get the recommended amount of rest before returning to work or strenuous activities.
Here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, our experienced oral surgeons are skilled at completing your surgical procedure with minimal incisions and scarring. Contact us today to learn more.
We understand your concerns and we will work closely with you to ensure the best possible outcome from your facial surgery.