June Newsletter

Published on June 6, 2016

I’ve studied wound healing on a molecular level. It’s given me a special sensitivity to scar formation, plus unusual skills for preventing it.

So when you come to me for facial surgery you can rest assured: your scars will be the most unobtrusive ones my profession can provide.

What Causes Scars?

  • Inflammation as the body reacts to absorbable sutures and hair follicles.
  • Tension.
  • Genes (an individual’s body chemistry influences her healing style).

How Can Scars Be Minimized?

  • Minimize inflammation. New research is helping us understand how to minimize inflammation at the incision site.
  • Control tension using non-absorbable sutures and skillful stitching techniques.

Postoperative Care

The chances of scarring decrease when you follow my strict post-op instructions. Here are three principles I’ll be insisting on (sternly) after any procedure you book with me.

  • Keep the incision covered with paper tape, steri-strips or silicone gel.
    • Apply tape for 1-3 weeks.
    • After 3 weeks use silicone gel for about two months more.
    • Once you see the scar fading you may discontinue care.
  • Avoid excess moisture.
    If there’s drainage from the incision – you’ll know because the area underneath the paper tapes will be appear moist — remove the tapes, clean the incision with soap and water and apply ointment until the drainage has stopped.
  • Keep the area clean.
    Bacteria live on the skin. This is normal. But in the presence of moisture they’ll multiply and increase inflammation, the enemy of proper wound healing.

SCARS FROM ACCIDENTS, ACNE, SWORD FIGHTING, YOU NAME IT

The same techniques that minimize my post-surgical scars work for scars acquired in the course of living exciting, sometimes imperfect lives.

Helping Battered Women
I continue to work pro bono through my professional society’s “Face to Face” program, helping battered women with facial scars. They’re so relieved when I erase the physical evidence of their beatings. They find it easier to move on to new, healthier lives.

The chance to perfect my scar-revision technique is just a small part of the satisfaction I get from participating in the program.

Helping Young Men Get Mainstreamed

Some men going through a rebellious period get so many piercings and tattoos they render themselves ineligible for normal roles in life.

I try to help men like this. Working with Navy recruiting offices, I offer free scar revision to men who qualify for military service but are barred from entry due to facial decorations.

As a former Navy captain, I know how much opportunity the military offers for growth, education and taking on responsible roles in life. Men who might have lingered at the margins of society get a chance to make real contributions. It’s a win-win, giving a second chance to troubled lives and keeping our country safe.

PROBLEM SCARS – KNOW THE SIGNS AND TREAT PROMPTLY

It’s much easier to prevent an unsightly scar than to treat it. Treating it usually requires surgical scar revision.
So if you notice a scar starting to look:

  • Elevated
  • Itchy, or
  • Red

…your body is most likely in the process of forming a ropy, unsightly scar.

We have steroid injections and other therapies to reverse what’s going on at that point. Don’t let the situation fester. The longer you wait, the more damage we have to undo.