Is Scar-Free Plastic Surgery in Our Future?Posted on March 1, 2017 | by Dr. Amy Bekanich
For the majority of plastic surgery patients, some scarring is a worthwhile tradeoff for a big boost in self-confidence—especially given they are usually subtle and fade over time. But if we could eliminate scarring entirely, that would really put the icing on the cake, wouldn’t it?
As it turns out, we may indeed be one step closer to erasing scars. A team of scientists has figured out how to regenerate human skin so that it heals into “normal” skin instead of scar tissue. The process is outlined in this article from Futurism.
Basically, here’s what they discovered about scars.
Normal skin has a healthy supply of adipocytes (fat cells) and hair follicles, but scar tissue has very little fat and no hair follicles—a major reason why scars have a different texture and appearance from the rest of your skin.
The scientists involved in this research found a “window of opportunity” in the wound healing process in which special cells called myofibroblasts (which appear at a wound site and pump out extra collagen to help with healing) can be convinced to morph into fat cells instead of continuing down their normal scar-tissue road. The trick, they discovered, is to regenerate hair follicles at the wound site—hair follicle growth signals the myofibroblasts to transform into fat cells. As a result, the wound heals into “normal” skin instead of a scar.
While this is exciting news, it’s important to remember that this skin regeneration technique is still in the early stages of research. It’ll be some time before we know whether we can apply it as a post-surgery therapy, but I’ll certainly be keeping my eye on this and other research to help my patients reduce scarring.
Vanishing scars isn’t yet possible, but minimizing scars after surgery absolutely is!
Luckily, we don’t have to wait for skin regeneration science to evolve to achieve beautiful plastic surgery results. In fact, ensuring that my patients’ scars heal as inconspicuously as possible is part of our care standards. Here’s how we help:
- I place incisions in naturally hidden places, such as the natural folds around the ears for facelifts, in the eyelid crease for eyelid lifts, or in the inframammary fold for breast augmentation.
- If I can’t hide them, I make them as easy to conceal as possible. Tummy tuck incisions are typically placed low on the pelvis, so they can be covered with a bikini bottom. Breast reduction requires an incision along the lower breast—easily covered by a bra or bikini top.
- I employ surgical techniques that optimize healing. My extensive training and experience afford me the knowledge to minimize tissue trauma and close incisions with optimal tension, helping scars heal as thinly and neatly as possible.
- I strive to create smaller incisions in the first place. For example, I use the Keller Funnel for my Austin breast augmentation patients, a tool that allows me to insert even larger silicone implants using a shorter incision and reduces risk for complications such as infection (which can also compromise scar appearance).
- I educate each patient about good scar care, including the importance of laying low during early weeks of recovery and beginning a scar-minimizing skin care regimen at the appropriate time.
Fear no scars! I’ll help you understand your options.
If you are considering plastic surgery but are hesitant about having permanent scars, I’ll be happy to listen to your concerns and help you make the right decision for your needs at a personal consultation. We’ll go over surgery and recovery, and look at before and after pictures of my Austin plastic surgery patients so you can see how your scars might look after surgery (you might have a difficult time locating them!). Just give my office a call at 512-244-1444.
Read the full article here.