Body Lift Surgery and Body Contouring Surgery: Part One – Scar Healing Factors

These educational writings on body lift surgery and body contouring surgery are designed to give the reader a higher level of understanding about the operations they are considering. The writings are meant to be more in depth and informative to provide a greater understand of the facts and operations. Many operations are considered part of body lift or body contouring procedures. These include but are not limited to arm lift, breast lift, tummy tuck, thigh lift, buttock lift, and thigh lift. People interested in these procedure might have developed loose skin from loss of elasticity, pregnancy, and or weight loss or aging.

One major point to learn is that these operations require incisions to remove loose skin. The incisions turn into the scars. Understanding the nature of the scars is critical, as this is what you will have after the procedure is finished. Most people love the flatter abdomen after the tummy tuck or the thinner thighs after the thigh lift, but do they like the scars? This is the key question. If they like or accept the scars, then most people will be happy. Some are not happy with the incisions, and hence they might not be good candidates for the operation. A person must accept the necessity of the scars or probably not do the operation. A similar theme is discussed in the educational writing “Breast Lift Surgery and Breast Reduction Surgery : Understanding the incisions or scars.” Please see this for those interested.

This first educational writing will focus on scar healing and scar maturation. If we need to understand the incisions, we better understand how scars heal first. Further educational writings will focus on body lift results, realistic expectations, incision patterns, risk-benefit analysis, and recovery.

Part One:

Scar Healing Factors – The Surgeon and the Location:

It is important to understand a few concepts about scar fading and scar maturation. Some information and education will make for better understanding of what can be realistically achieved. By understanding scar healing, a person will have a better understanding of the “Real-Reality” of thigh lift and buttock lift.

Different factors are important to get a smooth, flat, and thin scar. Of course, one of these factors is your surgeon. Most people want a plastic or cosmetic surgeon, who uses delicate and gentle handling of tissues. He will use layered closures and use tiny sutures to give your incision or scar the best possibility to heal nicely. These are critical skills used by your plastic surgeon.

Another major factor, however, is where the incision is placed or its “location.” For example, the location of the scar depending on the operation might be the face, the back, the buttock, or the thigh. Eye lifts have incisions in the eyelid crease and typically heal phenomenally. The scar fades extremely well. The scars are placed in the eyelid crease and can be described as “privileged”. This means the scar fading is so nice that the normal result is a scar that is extremely difficult to see. The incision in this location fades typically so well it eventually becomes almost totally concealed.

However, body lift and body contouring scars are not like eye lift scars. The location is totally different and will be reviewed as a factor. All scars never disappear completely. Scars are always permanent. As described, some scars become hard to see and have “faded well.” Others are more visible and can be considered more normal than eyelid scars. Some become widespread or elevated and can be considered “bad scars.” This scar fading over time is considered scar maturation. The final permanent fading of a scar can take up to a year, or even longer in some locations. As described, some incisions, like those for eye lifts or facelifts have excellent fading. Most of the time, these incisions are not seen because they are hidden and very thin. The location of a scar is a critical factor in how well it will fade.

Tummy tucks have incisions in the bikini line. Typically, the incision is hidden at the top of the pubic hair. This incision allows for it to be hidden in bathing suits, bikinis, and underwear. The transformation in the stomach area from a tummy tuck can be a very dramatic change. In the case of a woman with loose or excessive stomach skin, the incision tends to be well worth the results of surgery. However, it is always there; and when a patient is undressed, the incision will be visible. It can spread with time. The incisions from a tummy-tuck can spread 3 to 5 mm or approximately one quarter of an inch. What about body lift incisions?

Thigh lift incisions tend to be in areas that are not perfectly concealed. They can be placed down the inside of the leg and can come out of the coverage provided by shorts and clothing. This is suboptimal for many patients. The buttock incisions tend to be hidden in underwear and bathing suit lines. This is better as it allows concealment. The body lift incisions of a thigh lift and a buttock lift also haver a greater chance of scar spreading. The location is not as nice or as “privileged.” The particular anatomy of the skin of the thigh and buttock tends to produce a wider spread scar than other locations. This is because of the characteristics and thickness of the skin. The skill of the plastic surgeon can not overcome the healing characteristic of the skin in this area. The location of these incisions is a factor that might lead to scar spreading after body lift surgery. It does not mean the scar “will” spread, but a person needs to understand it is a risk. Most people will in fact be happy with their operations and the scar fading. But this in depth understanding of the scar is necessary.

To summarize, scar healing and fading is influenced by different factors. Your surgeon is, of course, an important factor. Some patients are bad “healers” prone to keloids, hypertrophic, or other bad scars. Where the incision is placed or its location is another critical factor. Surgical incisions turn into scars; surgical incisions are needed for cosmetic operations. The incisions or scars fade. This scar maturation or fading of scars, takes time, sometimes years. Some operations require incisions that don’t heal as well. Thigh and buttocks lifts require incisions that don’t always heal well. They are not “privileged” locations, and understanding of the healing of these scars is important to the “Real-Reality” of these operations.

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