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Scar Prevention


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No scar can be completely prevented.  If your body is going to scar then there is nothing that you can do to completely prevent this from happening.  When you injure yourself or go through surgery, however, there are steps that you can take to help your body to heal better and to produce a smaller scar than otherwise. 

Infection Prevention

It is very important to prevent infection, so your wound will need to be extensively cleaned to remove any dead skin or any foreign bodies that could cause problems.  Infections can inhibit the healing process, and can increase the size of your wound

Stitches

If you need stitches it is important that you have the thinnest possible thread for the size of the wound, and that you treat your stitches as you have been advised to do.  They ought to be kept dry and should only be removed when your surgeon feels it is right to do so.  Stitches ought to be only used when necessary, for small cuts it is more likely that your wound will be glued rather than stitched. 

Leaving your wound to heal

Leave your scabs alone.  If you remove them before the wound is properly healed you could widen the wound and actually promote scarring.

Pressure garments

Sometimes applying pressure can help to reduce the amount of scarring caused by an injury. This is something that you ought to ask your GP about if you are concerned about scarring.  These may need to be worn for up to a year and a half in order for the full effects to take place and are regularly worn after burning to help reduce the scarring. 

These steps will not prevent any scars from forming, but ought to help you to reduce the visibility and extent of the scar while it is being formed.  Your GP will be able to offer advice if you are unsure about a wound and how it is healing.

Preventing Pale/flat scars

The extent to which you can help to prevent this form of scarring from being large depends on where the wound is positioned.  If near a joint then it is important that you keep the area as still as possible to avoid any unnecessary stretching of the skin.  This will allow the skin to heal as narrowly as possible.  These types of scar can be made worse if they are scratched while still healing, making the scar more visible.  If your wound is stitched it is important that you don’t remove them until your doctor or surgeon deems it a good time, and they are best kept dry when healing. 

Preventing Hypertrophic scars

Hypertrophic scars can be helped when they are developing through the use of pressure garments.  These can help to reduce any swelling around the scar, and remove any redness caused by increased blood vessels.  Your GP or surgeon is likely to recommend these if your scar begins to develop into a hypertrophic scar. 

Preventing keloid scars

There is nothing that you can do to prevent keloid scars from developing, if you are susceptible to this form of scarring then they will continue to grow.  Pressure garments can help to a point, but are unlikely to completely prevent them.  Keloid scars are usually only diagnosed after about a year, if a hypertrophic scar continues to grow.  Then they may be injected with steroids to try to stunt their growth.  This can help to prevent them from spreading further, however sometimes this has little effect. 


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