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Revision Surgery: When to Consider

March 21st, 2011

All surgeons want you to have the best result possible after any surgery.  Additionally, plastic surgeons want their patients to also look better.     I believe that the aesthetic nature of plastic and reconstructive medical training, appeals to people drawn to the artistry and sculpting of this particular specialty.  While cosmetic surgery can offer patients significant improvements in their appearance, unfortunately, perfect results are not possible.  Our bodies are not symmetric and individual anatomy differs from one person to the next.   Variations in surgical results do occur.

Some results are better than others.   There are many factors that contribute to a less than desirable result.   These may include, surgical problems, or not following strict after-care instructions, which may lead to unwanted bleeding or infection. Recovery is not the same for everyone and we all heal differently.   Some patients make more scar tissue, which may contribute to imperfect results after surgery.

When should surgery be revised for an unsatisfactory result?   This relates to internal healing.   Internal healing like scar maturation takes from 6 months to a year.   During this recovery period, dramatic changes take place, often revealing the expected appearance.   In my experience, some unsatisfied patients are a little impatient and perhaps too quick to judge.   It takes time and patience to see final results with most cosmetic surgery results.   However, if after 6 months there is not significant improvement, I suggest visiting with your surgeon about the possibility of revision (redoing) surgery.

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MONDAY MYTHS #2: Plastic Surgeons can remove all scars

July 19th, 2010

Myth #2: Plastic surgeons can remove all scars.

“Can you remove this scar?”  Patients frequently ask this question and I wish that I could remove all scars, but it is simply not possible.   Frequently, scars may be revised to be less visible.

Surgery by definition, involves an incision in the skin at the outset.   Of course the last step is sewing the skin back together.  Surgical procedures and skin trauma that requires stitches, is no different, the resulting scar is permanent, but usually becomes less apparent with time.   Normal body physiology softens and lightens a scar, which often takes six months to a year.

Plastic surgeons design surgery to minimize noticeable scars.   This is accomplished by using several strategies.   Sometimes the position can be planned so that the scar is hidden.  Other times, the direction, shape or orientation of the scar can be rearranged with z-plasty or w-plasty.   Having an evaluation for possible scar revision is always an option.

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