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Dr. Alpana Mohta Ranka, MD, DNB, IFAAD, is a dual-board-certified dermatologist with over 90 research publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.


Healing and Managing Scars After Cosmetic Lift Procedures: Expert Insights

Scarring is a natural part of the body's healing process after surgical procedures, including lift surgeries. Whether you've undergone a breast lift, thigh lift, face lift, arm lift, or neck lift, understanding how scars evolve and how to promote their healing can significantly impact their final appearance.

In this article, we'll explore the various types of lift scars, their healing processes, and expert-recommended methods for scar management.

Breast Lift Scars

Breast lift surgery, or mastopexy, involves reshaping and lifting the breasts. The resulting scars typically depend on the technique used and the individual's skin type.

Breast lift scars usually form around the areola, extend vertically down to the breast crease (known as the lollipop scar), and in some cases, may also include a horizontal scar along the breast crease (anchor scar). These scars tend to be more noticeable initially but tend to fade over time.

After one year of healing, breast lift scars undergo significant changes. They may still appear slightly raised and pinkish, but this is a normal part of the healing process. By the end of the second year, scars often mature, becoming flatter, lighter, and less noticeable.

Thigh Lift Scars

Thigh lift surgery is designed to address sagging skin on the thighs, and scars can be a concern for many patients. Thigh lift scars after 1 year may still exhibit some redness and raised texture. However, as the healing process continues, scars tend to become smoother and paler.

Inner thigh lift scars after 1 year may remain slightly more prominent due to the skin's increased sensitivity in that area. Patients are encouraged to keep the incisions clean, moisturized, and protected from the sun to aid in the healing process.

Face Lift Scars

Face lift surgery, or rhytidectomy, aims to reduce signs of aging on the face and neck. Incisions are usually strategically placed to be hidden within the hairline and natural skin creases around and behind the ears.

Face lift scars tend to be well-concealed and often fade remarkably well.

Patients who have concerns about visible scars can explore mini face lift scars or neck lift scars behind ears. These techniques result in shorter scars that are usually easier to hide. After a year of healing, face lift scars generally become quite inconspicuous.

For patients concerned about scarring, considering endoscopic brow lift scars or direct brow lift scars might be beneficial. These approaches often result in less noticeable scars as they involve smaller incisions.

Arm Lift Scars

Brachioplasty, or arm lift surgery, targets excess skin and tissue on the upper arms. Arm lift scars after 1 year may still show some pinkness and unevenness.

Neck Lift Scars

Neck lift surgery can involve various techniques, each resulting in specific scar patterns. Neck lift scars may be concealed under the chin, behind the ears, or even hidden within the hairline, depending on the surgical approach. Neck lift mini face lift scars are typically shorter and may heal faster due to their size.

If you are concerned about getting scars after a neck lift surgery, you can consider getting a Nefertiti Lift.

Nefertiti Lift

This is a non-surgical procedure that uses Botox to relax certain facial muscles such that the neck skin doesn't look saggy and wrinkled.

The downside to this procedure is that the effects don't last forever and might start to wear off after 6-12 months.

Tips for Scar Management and Camouflage

Although, usually, all post-surgical scars fade on their own with time, diligent scar care can help expedite the healing process. Silicone-based scar sheets and gentle massages are often recommended to flatten and soften scars.

  • Silicone: Silicone gel, cream, or sheets are considered the most effective topical options for treating scars. They work by improving skin barrier function, maintaining hydration, and reducing excessive water loss. This helps normalize the skin's function, leading to reduced scar severity and inflammation. Clinical studies demonstrate the success of silicone gel in scar treatment, including on surgical incisions.

  • Vitamin E: Despite its antioxidant properties and potential for promoting skin healing, the effectiveness of vitamin E in scar treatment is disputed. Some research suggests it might not be effective and could cause skin reactions in some cases.

  • Onion extract: Onion extract contains compounds that reduce scar formation and have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol. Clinical evidence regarding its effectiveness is not consistent, and it's generally considered less potent than silicone treatments. It's often used alongside other treatments for symptomatic hypertrophic scars or postoperative care.

  • Massage Techniques: Gentle massaging of scars with any hydrating cream or oil can stimulate blood flow and collagen production, contributing to a smoother scar appearance. You can use virgin coconut oil to massage the scar for 5-10 minutes every day twice a day for this purpose.

  • Tattoos for Scar Covering: For those seeking additional camouflage, tattoos can effectively conceal scars. Tattoos to cover breast lift scars or tattoos to cover arm lift scars can be customized to match skin tone and provide the desired coverage.

Your dermatologist might also prescribe treatments like:

  • Mitomycin C: Although not commonly found in scar creams, mitomycin C has demonstrated anti-scar properties. It's a prescription-grade medication not available over-the-counter. This natural compound hinders cell reproduction by affecting DNA. Some case series have reported significant reductions in keloid (a type of raised scar that tends to grow abnormally) size and height with treatments involving mitomycin C, shave excision, and radiation therapy.

  • Imiquimod: Imiquimod, another prescription drug, is a topical formulation that modifies immune responses and helps prevent keloid recurrence after surgical removal, especially for earlobe lesions.

How to Make Scars Heal Faster

To accelerate the healing of surgical lift scars, consider these strategies:

  • Proper Wound Care: Adhering to your surgeon's post-operative instructions for wound care is crucial. Keeping the incision site clean, dry, and protected can help minimize infection risk and optimize healing.

  • Healthy Lifestyle: Embrace a healthy lifestyle with a well-balanced diet and sufficient hydration to promote skin health and efficient healing. Nutrient-rich foods supply essential vitamins and minerals that support tissue regeneration.

  • Quit Smoking: If you smoke, kicking the habit is highly recommended. Smoking can impede the healing process by reducing blood flow to the skin and delaying tissue repair.

  • Sun Protection: Shield the scar from sun exposure using clothing or broad spectrum SPF 50+ sunscreen to prevent hyperpigmentation and encourage more even healing.

While scars are an inevitable part of lift surgeries, understanding their evolution and adopting proper scar care techniques can significantly influence their final appearance.

Consulting with experienced surgeons and dermatologists will ensure you receive the best guidance for your unique situation. Remember that everyone's healing process is different, and patience is key to achieving optimal scar outcomes.


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