Any procedure that cuts and injures the skin will leave behind scars, and liposuction is no exception. Liposuction involves making small incisions in the skin to suction the fat from a body part. Although it is a minimally invasive process, regardless of how well it heals, there will be some scarring. The size of the incisions differs, depending on the body part. The smaller the incision, the smaller the scar.
Not all who undergo liposuction may develop visible scarring. In most cases, the scars may fade over time. While you cannot make them disappear completely, there are ways to make them less noticeable. This article discusses everything you need to know about liposuction scar management and healing. Scroll down to know more!
Table Of Contents
Can Liposuction Cause Scars?
Yes. Liposuction can cause scarring. However, it depends on multiple factors. They include (1):
- Genetic Factors: Some people tend to develop scars easily than others.
- Age: With age, the natural healing ability of the skin declines. This may lead to improper scar healing.
- Skin Color: People with a darker skin tone may experience hyperpigmentation at the incision site, which may become darker because of excess melanin.
- Sun Exposure: Frequent sun exposure can interfere with the healing process and cause hyperpigmentation and visible scars.
- Other Factors: Some people tend to develop keloid scars. It happens when the body produces excess collagen, leading to a raised scar on the incision site. Discuss with the surgeon beforehand to avoid keloid scars.
- Poor Incisions: Poor placement of incisions may cause visible scars.
- Over Liposuction: Multiple liposuction sessions and puncturing the same spot several times or in the vicinity of another incision may leave behind scars.
The size of the incision also matters. For instance, if you are undergoing chin liposuction, it requires around a 1mm incision, which is extremely small and does not cause visible scarring. Moreover, if your skin is less elastic, it may develop scars while healing.
Scarring is a sign of the skin’s natural wound healing process, and all these factors influence it. Each case and procedure is unique, and it is best to discuss with the doctor about the possibility of scarring and ways to avoid them. There are several approaches to liposuction scar management. Let’s take a look at them.
Liposuction Scar Management
Though liposuction-related scars fade and reduce overtime, there are two ways of effective liposuction scar management:
Non-Surgical Scar Reduction And Removal Methods
1. At-Home Treatments
These treatments promote better-wound healing and collagen synthesis, reducing the chances of scarring. Vegetable oils like sunflower, sea buckthorn, olive, coconut, argan, rapeseed, rosehip seed, and avocado oils contain linoleic acid that promotes skin barrier repair and stimulates dermal reconstruction by producing collagen (2), (3).
These ingredients keep the skin moisturized and improve its elasticity, which is crucial during wound healing. Applying silicone gel and vitamin C also improves the appearance of fine surgical scars (4).
2. Silicone Gel Sheets
Silicone gel and gel sheets are prescribed by the surgeon for post-operative wound healing. Hydration is crucial for proper wound healing. If your skin is dehydrated, the keratinocytes in the skin layer produce cytokines, which signal the fibroblasts to produce excessive collagen, causing raised scars.
Silicone gel sheets provide proper occlusion and hydration, creating a moisture barrier to prevent the skin from overcompensating with excessive collagen production and scarring (5).
3. Chemical Peels
Chemical peels can help fade scars. This is an in-office procedure performed by doctors and trained aestheticians. Usually, they use different concentrations of alpha-hydroxy acids to remove the outermost layer of the skin and improve the texture. The strength of the peels depends on the severity of the scars and your skin type.
Care and precautions must be taken before performing a chemical peel procedure, as everyone’s skin responds differently to this procedure. Redness in the treated area is a common side effect of this treatment, which goes away after a few days.
Microdermabrasion is performed by dermatologists. They use a small device with a microcrystal tip to remove the outermost layer of the skin, revealing smooth and bright skin. This procedure encourages healthy collagen and elastin fiber production in the area to fade scarring.
Another technique that plastic surgeons use for effective scar reduction is cryotherapy. It uses nitrogen gas to pierce the scar tissue and freeze it from inside out. As a result, the scar swells up, releases its discharge, and then begins to fade. Many plastic surgeons prefer it because it is simple, quick, and easily performed as an outpatient procedure without hospital stay or admission (6).
6. Laser Therapy
An effective way to reduce post-liposuction scars is laser therapy. The laser beams improve the texture and appearance of scars, including hypertrophic and keloid scars (7). Laser therapy is a simple procedure, causes very little discomfort or pain, and recovery is quick.
Surgical Scar Removal Methods
Surgical scar removal method or scar revision surgery is performed on large, severe, and visible scars. It attempts to make the scar less prominent and blend it with the surrounding skin. Liposuction does not cause major scarring, so you may not need a surgical procedure for scar management.
However, it is better to discuss it with the plastic surgeon and decide after proper evaluation. They perform a thorough physical evaluation to determine if you are an ideal candidate for liposuction surgery. Follow-up appointments after the surgery also allow your surgeon to monitor your scars.
The doctor may ask for your past medical and surgical history to get an idea about your body’s scarring nature and determine if you will develop a scar after liposuction surgery.
Once you have undergone surgery, you have to follow post-operative guidelines to minimize the chances of scarring and promote better wound healing. Your doctor will give you a list of dos and don’ts to follow. Other than that, you may keep in mind the following points.
Tips To Prevent Scar Formation Following Liposuction Surgery
- Avoid Excessive UV Exposure: It is because sun exposure can increase the chances of hyperpigmentation on early scars (8). If you had liposuction surgery on the chin or other area that might be exposed, keep them covered and wear sunblock.
- Stay Hydrated: Staying hydrated from the inside is as crucial as topical hydration. Drink plenty of water to prevent the skin tissue from drying out. Otherwise, it may worsen the scars. Also, apply moisturizers containing shea butter, coconut oil, and other plant oils to maintain the skin hydration levels.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking delays the wound healing process. Nicotine in tobacco is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it reduces the oxygen and nutrient flow to the tissues, hindering their repair and regeneration capacity (9).
- Limit Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol impairs wound healing and may increase the chances of infection. It may also hamper collagen production and prevent wound closure (10).
- Eat Healthy: Following any procedure, surgery, or disease, healing and a recovering body need a healthy, nutritious diet. This applies to liposuction as well. Consume balanced and nutritious foods and limit your consumption of sugars and junk food. This will help your skin recover fast.
The Bottom Line
Liposuction is a safe cosmetic procedure and may leave behind minimal scarring. While these scars can be easily managed, the recovery may also depend on your skin type, genetic makeup, and other factors that influence the healing process. It is best to discuss the possible outcome and the post-operative healing process with the doctor to ensure better scar management.
Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
Will neck liposuction leave a scar?
Yes, it will leave a small scar. However, such scars can easily heal. Also, due to the strategic incisions (behind the ears and under the chin), they are barely visible.
How long will my liposuction scar be?
It depends on the body part where liposuction is performed. For chin and neck liposuction, the incision can be around 1mm, leaving a small scar. However, in most cases, they are no longer than 5mm to 6 mm.
How long should I wait after liposuction surgery to treat my scars?
It can take about six to eight weeks for post-operative swelling to reduce after liposuction surgery. Slightly aggressive scar reduction and removal techniques are performed once the wound has closed completely and no other symptoms are present. All the pain and associated symptoms must subside before trying these scar removal methods.
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- Vegetable butters and oils in skin wound healing: Scientific evidence for new opportunities in dermatology
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