It’s important to know the steps to take to prevent scarring after oral and facial surgeries.
There are a variety of reasons why you may have scarring on your face, including facial trauma, surgery, or tumor removal — and while the oral surgeons at Alaska Center for Oral + Facial Surgery are trained in innovative procedures that minimize scarring, recovery doesn’t end when you walk out the door!
At the Alaska Center For Oral + Facial Surgery, we provide innovative maxillofacial surgeries that support your aesthetics, as much as they improve the quality of your life. Take a moment with us today and learn all about tips to help you reduce scarring after an oral or facial surgery.
4 Tips For Reducing Scarring After Surgery
We measure the success of a procedure as an outcome that not only improves the quality of life for our patients, such as improved speech or sleep, but also supports confidence and enhances aesthetics, which oftentimes means minimizing scarring.
There are many surgical procedures that involve making incisions on or around the face. While the primary goal is always to treat any lacerations or bleeding by controlling the wound, the secondary concern is the aesthetic outcome — the ability to make it less noticeable.
When our part is done, the recovery — and scar reduction — can be taken home and improved with a couple of considerations. Let’s dive into some scar-reducing tips below!
Know your healing window.
After surgery, it’s important to know what the healing window looks like. We often get ahead of ourselves and begin working towards a full recovery right away, when really we should be slowing down and allowing our body to do what it does best — heal!
As a general rule, you can expect the following healing timeframe. Within a couple of days, the wound should begin to heal, and within five days to two weeks, it should be much stronger. As time passes, the site will begin to turn a purplish color, and in four to six months the scar will begin to flatten. After six months have passed, it should be completely healed and will continue to fade.
Factors That Influence Scar Healing
While the body does an excellent job of healing and repairing itself, there are a couple of factors that influence how you heal.
Age – Your age influences just about all of your bodily functions including the healing in the structure and function of your skin. As we get older, our skin thins and our collagen and elastin decreases, in addition to a slowing down of inflammatory response — basically, the older you get, the slower you heal.
Nutrition – What you eat (or don’t eat) significantly impacts how you heal. It’s important to give your body the nutrients it needs to heal, which means eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruit and staying away from processed, low-quality foods.
Skin Hydration – In order for your skin to heal optimally, fluids and moisture need to be available. Typically as we age, we lose moisture. So, it’s important to keep yourself and the wound area well hydrated.
Now that you have an understanding of the healing window and the factors that influence healing, there are several things you can do to help care for and reduce scarring.
One of the best things you can do to manage and encourage scar reduction is to reduce your inflammatory response. When your body is busy fighting inflammation, it diminishes its ability to help heal your wound. How can you better manage inflammation? Some of the best ways to manage inflammation are through diet and exercise. Eating healthy, whole foods will do wonders for your body. Exercise helps to get fluids moving and aids in natural detoxification.
You can also consider supplements such as turmeric, fish oil, and ginger for inflammation support.
There are a variety of topicals you can use directly on a scar. They include:
- Vitamin E
- Essential oils such as helichrysum, frankincense, and carrot seed
- Almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Rosehip seed oil
Both carrier oils (almond, coconut, rosehip, etc.) and essential oils provide great scar-reducing properties. Many of them address inflammation and promote collagen and elastin synthesis, while fading and reducing the scar.
Massage or manual manipulation of the healed wound is a great way to promote healing and the appearance of the area. When you massage the area, it helps get fluids moving, wakes up the area, and gently tells the body to get to healing!
Massaging the area also increases blood flow — this is crucial to do in the first two weeks of healing because it can break up the scarring and prevent scar tissue build up.
Avoid The Sun
If you’re looking to minimize the appearance of a scar, it’s important to avoid sun exposure. UV rays may make the scar appear much darker and, unlike a tan, it may be permanent. If you willspend time outside, it’s important to use at least an SPF 50 sunscreen.
Further Scar Reduction
If you had a major facial or oral surgery,have given the wound time to heal, and have taken preventative measures to reduce scarring, but just aren’t satisfied with the results, you could consider procedures such as laser scar therapy, microneedling, or dermabrasion. These are more invasive procedures that are typically performed at a dermatologist’s office or in a medspa setting.
Undergoing facial or oral surgery can be unsettling — not only is it scary to undergo surgery, but it’s also disconcerting what you may look like afterwards. The oral surgeons at the Alaska Center For Oral + Facial Surgery ???what’s the completed thought???
See improved outcomes with the oral surgeons at the Alaska Center For Oral + Facial Surgery!
At AOFS, our oral surgeons perform a myriad of facial and oral surgeries on the jaw and face, in addition to head and neck. Their knowledge is unmatched — they understand the need for both function and aesthetics which is why they apply innovative surgical techniques in a state-of-the-art facility for the best patient outcomes.
We’re here to not only perform the leading oral and facial surgeries, but act as a resource in all things related in order to provide you the best patient experience.
For more information on the procedures we perform — from wisdom teeth removal and bone grafts to corrective jaw surgery and cleft palate surgery — reach out to us today.