Scar Healing

Instructions for optimal wound healing and scar fading

Before surgery we will discuss how to optimise the process of ideal wound healing. A scar is forever and the final result will depend on a number of factors including most importantly the patients wound healing biology. This process can be optimised by pre-operative optimisation, gentle tissue handling and suturing during the surgery and good post-operative management.  A wound takes two weeks to heal and 12-18 months to mature and fade the majority of this will occur in the first 6 months. It is very important to actively manage this phase to achieve the best result.

In all out-patient procedures and most general anaesthetic procedures we use local anaesthetic. The effects last for between 2-4 hours after surgery and it is important to be aware of this so that you can take oral pain relief. I prefer you not to take Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen either, two weeks before surgery or in the 48 hours following surgery as they increase your tendency to bleed and therefore bruise.

The wound will be dressed with a shower resistant dressing.

You will be reviewed between 5-14 days after surgery depending on what was performed and which part of the body was operated on. If you have questions or concerns it is important to contact us.

A small minority of wounds can develop hypertrophic or keloid scaring due to the biology of their healing. It is important to contact us early if there appears to be adverse scaring so that this can be assessed and other treatments initiated if necessary.

The healing scar is usually taped to reduce the tendency to stretch and become lumpy.  

After taping I like all my patients, reconstructive and cosmetic, paediatric and adult, to commence scar massage using vitamin E oil for 2-5 minutes, applying gentle pressure in circular motions along the line of the scar. Then wipe off the oil and apply a smear of silicone gel, KeloCote, along the entire length of the wound. This should be performed twice a day for between three to six months. Scar massage will help desensitise the area and will accelerate the process of softening and fading, resulting in the best possible outcome.

Neil Bulstrode

Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon