I’m Worried About How My Incision Looks. What Can I Do?
In the first few weeks after surgery, it can be tempting to look closely at your columellar incision and be concerned that it looks too noticeable. Here are some tips to keep in mind that will hopefully help ease any anxiety you are feeling about your incision:
- Give it time: The vast majority of patients are happy with the way their incision looks once it has completely healed. You can expect that in the first month or so after surgery, your incision will be red and raised. It will improve month by month and you will notice it less and less. At this early stage, please do not be concerned about how your incision looks, and remind yourself that the lifetime of a scar is one year. That’s how long it takes to completely heal.
- No one is looking as closely as you are: You may feel self concous about the incision and worry that other people notice it. Unless somebody is standing very close to you and specifically looking for evidence of surgery – chances are they aren’t going to notice anything.
- Follow your pre and post operative instructions: Use the Polysporing as outlined until the incision is totally closed and healed (around 2 weeks), and avoid the urge to pick or rub your incision. In the first week after surgery you may have crusts or blood on the incision – do not attempt to remove them and let them come off on their own. The polysporin is the best thing you can do to keep the incision moist and help prevent infection.
- Sun screen – Starting at 3 weeks post operative and for the first 6 months to 1 year after surgery, it is important to apply sun screen to the incision. Most patients do this as part of their daily skin care routine anyways. This is especially important if you will be taking a sunny holiday. Protecting those incisions from the sun will help prevent them from taking on a brownish tinge.
- No smoking – Smokers have to accept the reality that smoking encourages poor wound healing and scar formation. Quit smoking if you can.
- Makeup can help – until the redness fades (which will take about 1 – 3 months), you can use concealer on the incision. It is safe to do so after your cast is removed at the 7 day post operative follow up appointment so long as the incision is totally closed and healed. If not, wait another week or so before you conceal and continue applying the Polysporin. Ask your surgeon at your 1 week follow up visit if you aren’t sure.
- Scar gels and other topical treatments like Vitamin E – While these products haven’t necessarily been clinically proven to help scars heal better, they can’t hurt. You can begin applying these types of products 3 weeks after surgery or once the incision has totally closed and healed.
I am Here to Help
Still have questions? A patient care expert is here to answer them. Dr. Buonassisi’s patient are encouraged to call if they have any questions at all about their recovery.