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Plastic Surgery Myth #3: You’ll have unsightly scars


 It’s true, the reality is that Plastic Surgery does involve the creation of SCARS.

However, the location, length, number and quality of scars is extremely important and one that my practice pays VERY close attention to.  Whether you are considering a procedure on the face, breasts or body, scarring is a number one concern of most patients.

At the 6-8 week postoperative visit from every surgical procedure, no matter how big or small, our patients receive education at Horton SPA about “SCAR THERAPY“.  Why not immediately after surgery?

For the first month or two after surgery, the incisions are not scars yet – they are still considered “wounds” and need to undergo the initial stages of wound healing:  hemostasis, inflammation, and collagen deposition by our immune system cells.  After the first 6-8 weeks, mature forms of collagen become deposited in the wound, and the incision is then considered to be an early “scar”.

Our formal scar therapy education involves:

  • Instruction on how to massage surgical scars using pinching, twisting, and gentle pressure
  • Recommendations and education about applying a topical scar gel that contains medical-grade silicone (like the therapy used in burn units for burn scars)
  • Avoiding direct sun exposure and paying close attention to caring for scars during the first year after surgery, until scars become more mature
  • When appropriate, IPL laser treatments to help remove any red or brown discoloration of scars once they are starting to mature

A “mature scar” is flat, pale and feels more like the surrounding skin.  In most individuals, scars fade to be nearly imperceptible.  Most scars are hidden in natural creases and lie along the body’s “relaxed skin tension lines”.  And most of our patients tend to ignore and forget the existence of their scars, focusing instead of their fabulous results of surgery!

To learn more about Plastic Surgery, scars, recovery from surgery and to see BEFORE & AFTER PHOTOS of surgery results (and scars!), visit these areas of our website!


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Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA