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Hand surgery

Minimize Scarring After Surgery: Proper Wound Care is Key

The healing abilities of the body are pretty amazing. Did you know that following an injury or surgery or whenever the skin is damaged, the body starts working immediately to repair the wound? It’s true. Immediately following trauma to skin, the body starts to produce collagen fibers, a natural protein that works to mend the damaged area.

Scars on the skin, however, are a byproduct of surgery. While scars from surgeries to knees, hands, elbows or shoulders are hard to avoid, they can become less noticeable if properly treated. The appearance of a scar depends on how well the wound is treated and how well it heals. Proper wound care can make the difference between an ugly scar or one that is hardly visible. Here are some tips for reducing the appearance of scars caused by surgeries:

  1. Keep your wound clean. For days following surgery, gently wash the area with medical soap to keep germs that cause infection away from your surgical area.
  2. Keep the wound moist. Use petroleum jelly to keep the surgical wound from drying out and forming a scab. Wounds with scabs take longer to heat and get dry and itchy.
  3. Cover the wound with an adhesive bandage. For large surgical wounds, keeping it clean, moist and covered will prevent infection and help it heal faster.
  4. Get your stitches removed when the doctor advises. This will help minimize the appearance of a scar.
  5. Apply sunscreen after the surgical wound has healed. Sun can cause reddening and discoloration of scars. Sun screen will help the scar fade faster.

Although no surgical scar can be completely eliminated, most will fade over time. If you are unhappy after your surgical scar has healed, you can consult with a board-certified dermatologist for additional help to make your scar less visible.
If you have had surgery and your wound is not healing well, follow up with your doctor. You may have an infection.

This Ortho El Paso blog has been written to educate patients on expectations following surgery. If you are suffering from pain of the shoulder, elbow, hand, knees or hips, call the board certified orthoapedic surgeons at Ortho El Paso for a consultation of your orthopedic situation. Call 915-249-4000.