How to Minimise Mummy Makeover Scars

Simple Steps to Reduce Scars after a Mummy Makeover

When considering a mummy makeover, an array of questions and considerations may come to mind, with the management and minimisation of scars often standing out prominently. A mummy makeover usually includes different procedures tailored to address changes to the body post-pregnancy, including but not limited to abdominoplasty, breast lift or augmentation, and liposuction. While these procedures can significantly enhance your appearance, they do leave scars.

In this blog, Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan will discuss effective strategies to minimise scars following your mummy makeover surgery.

More about Mummy Makeover Scars

Scars are a natural outcome of the body’s healing process, forming as part of the post-surgical recovery. When you undergo a mummy makeover, the body responds to this intervention by creating scar tissue to repair the incisions. The appearance and healing process of these scars can be influenced by several factors, including the extent of the surgery, the specific techniques employed by Anthony, your skin type, and your body’s natural healing capabilities.

It’s important to recognise the types of scars associated with mummy makeover procedures. These can range from fine lines to more pronounced scars, depending on the location and extent of the incisions. For instance, abdominoplasty may result in a horizontal scar along the lower abdomen, while breast augmentation can leave scars either around the areola, under the breast fold, or in the armpit, depending on the surgical approach.

Different factors can influence how your scars will heal and appear in the long term. Genetic predispositions play a significant role; some individuals may be more prone to keloids or hypertrophic scars, which are raised and more visible.

Your body’s healing response is also influenced by external factors, such as smoking, which can impair healing and worsen scarring, and your nutritional status. Adequate intake of certain nutrients, including vitamins A and C, zinc, and protein, can support the body’s healing process, potentially improving scar appearance.

Post-Surgical Care after Mummy Makeover

The care you receive immediately following your mummy makeover plays an important role in the healing process and the eventual appearance of scars. Proper wound care, managing swelling, and mitigating discomfort are critical components that contribute to optimal healing and scar minimisation.

  • Dressings and Wound Care: After your surgery, the incisions will be covered with dressings or bandages to protect them from infection and support the healing process. Anthony may also place drain tubes to remove excess fluid and reduce swelling in the operated areas. The type of dressing used can also influence scar formation. In some cases, Anthony prefers silicone-based dressings, as silicone has been shown to hydrate the scar and reduce its thickness. These dressings can be particularly beneficial in the early stages of healing, helping to keep the scar flat and less noticeable.
  • Managing Swelling and Discomfort: Swelling is a normal response to surgery and can last several weeks or even months. Managing this swelling effectively is essential, as excessive swelling can put undue tension on the incisions, potentially affecting scar appearance. Anthony may recommend wearing a compression garment to support the affected areas and reduce swelling. These garments not only facilitate a more comfortable recovery but also help to minimise fluid accumulation and improve blood circulation, contributing to a smoother healing process.
  • Monitoring for Complications: Keeping an eye out for signs of infection or other complications is critical during this time. Symptoms such as increased redness, warmth, sudden swelling, or discharge from the incisions warrant immediate attention from your medical team. Early detection and treatment of any complications can prevent further issues that might worsen scarring.
  • Rest and Limited Movement: While gentle movements and short walks are encouraged to promote circulation, it’s important to avoid any strenuous activities that could strain the incisions or lead to reopening. Resting and allowing your body the time it needs to heal is essential during this stage.

Scar Treatment Options after Mummy Makeover

Once the initial healing phase has passed and Anthony has given the green light, several post-surgery scar treatments can be employed to improve the appearance of scars. These treatments range from topical applications to more advanced procedures, each with its benefits and considerations:

  • Silicone Sheets and Gels: Silicone-based products are widely recognised for their efficacy in scar treatment. They work by creating a protective barrier over the scar, maintaining hydration, and thereby reducing collagen production which can lead to scar thickening. Silicone sheets or gels should be applied consistently for several months to see the best results. They are non-invasive, easy to use, and have a solid track record of improving scar appearance by making them flatter, softer, and less visible.
  • Steroid Injections: For scars that become raised, red, or itchy, such as hypertrophic scars or keloids, steroid injections can be effective. These injections help reduce inflammation, slow down excessive collagen production, and can flatten and soften the scar over time. The process involves a series of injections administered directly into the scar tissue at intervals determined by Anthony.
  • Pressure Garments: Particularly useful for larger or more raised scars, pressure garments are designed to apply consistent pressure to the scar area, which can help in flattening and softening the scar over time. They are often recommended for extensive scarring and must be worn for several months to achieve the best outcomes.
  • Microneedling: This treatment involves using a device with small needles to create tiny punctures in the skin, stimulating the skin’s natural healing process and promoting collagen production. Microneedling can improve the texture and appearance of scars by encouraging the growth of new, healthy skin. It may require multiple sessions for optimal results.

Laser Treatment for Scar Minimisation

Laser treatments are a highly effective approach to improving the appearance of scars after a mummy makeover. These treatments utilise focused light energy to target scar tissue, promoting the remodelling of the skin and the formation of healthy new tissue.

Types of Laser Treatments:

  • Fractional Laser Resurfacing: This method involves the delivery of laser energy to the skin in a pixelated manner, treating only a fraction of the skin’s surface at a time. It stimulates the body’s natural healing process, encouraging the growth of new, healthy skin cells and collagen. Fractional laser resurfacing is effective for improving the texture, colour, and overall appearance of scars.
  • Pulsed-Dye Laser (PDL): PDL targets blood vessels within the scar tissue, reducing redness and improving the scar’s colour to match the surrounding skin more closely. This type of laser is particularly beneficial for scars that are raised and red.
  • Ablative Laser Treatment: Ablative lasers remove the top layer of the skin, encouraging the growth of new, smoother skin. While highly effective, this type of treatment requires a longer recovery time and carries a higher risk of side effects, such as changes in skin colour.

Pros and Cons of Laser Therapy

Pros:

  • Precision: Lasers can target scar tissue precisely, leaving the surrounding skin unaffected.
  • Effectiveness: Many patients experience significant improvements in the appearance of their scars, including reduced redness and smoother texture.
  • Minimal Downtime: Non-ablative laser treatments typically require minimal downtime, allowing patients to return to their daily activities relatively quickly.

Cons:

  • Multiple Sessions Required: Optimal results often require several treatment sessions, spaced weeks or months apart.
  • Potential Side Effects: Depending on the laser type and the individual’s skin type, side effects can include temporary redness, swelling, and, less commonly, changes in pigmentation or skin texture.
  • Cost: Laser treatments can be expensive, and multiple sessions increase the overall cost. Additionally, these treatments are often not covered by insurance.

Before undergoing laser treatment for scar minimisation, it’s important to consult with Anthony. He can evaluate your scars, discuss the most suitable type of laser treatment for your specific needs, and outline realistic expectations for the outcomes.

Natural Remedies to Minimise Scars and Their Efficacy

Natural remedies often garner interest for their simplicity, accessibility, and perceived gentleness on the skin. While some individuals may prefer these methods as part of their post-surgical care, it’s important to approach natural remedies with an understanding of their potential benefits and limitations.

  • Aloe Vera: Known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera is a common choice for skin care, including scar treatment. It can help keep the scarred area moisturised, which is crucial for healing. Aloe vera gel may aid in reducing inflammation and increasing skin elasticity, potentially making scars less noticeable. However, its effectiveness can vary, and it’s best used as a complementary treatment rather than a standalone solution.
  • Honey: Honey, particularly Manuka honey, has been recognised for its wound-healing properties. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects can support the healing process, and its hydrating properties help maintain skin moisture, essential for scar healing. Some studies suggest honey can minimise scar formation when applied to wounds, but more research is needed to fully understand its efficacy in post-surgical scar treatment.
  • Onion Extract: Available in gel form, onion extract is marketed for scar treatment and has shown potential in reducing redness, improving texture, and overall scar appearance. Its benefits are thought to come from its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to regulate collagen production. While some studies support its use, others indicate minimal benefits, suggesting variability in individual responses.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is often recommended for scar care due to its antioxidant properties and role in supporting skin health. However, scientific studies on its effectiveness for reducing surgical scars have shown mixed results. In some cases, topical application of vitamin E has not demonstrated a significant improvement in scar appearance and may even cause irritation in sensitive individuals.
  • Essential Oils: Lavender and tea tree oils are sometimes cited for their potential to improve scar appearance, thanks to their anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Nevertheless, essential oils should be used with caution, as they can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, especially when not diluted properly.

While natural remedies can be appealing for their ease of use and natural composition, it’s important to remember that evidence supporting their effectiveness is varied. They may offer some benefits in scar hydration and reducing inflammation but are unlikely to produce dramatic improvements in scar appearance on their own. Always perform a patch test to check for skin sensitivity, and consult with Anthony before incorporating any natural remedies into your scar management plan.

FAQs about How to Minimise Mummy Makeover Scars

Can I use over-the-counter products to help reduce my mummy makeover scars?

  • Yes, over-the-counter products such as silicone gel or sheets are widely recommended to help reduce the appearance of scars. They work by hydrating the scar tissue, which can make the scar softer, flatter, and less noticeable over time. Always consult with Anthony before applying any product to ensure it’s suitable for your specific situation.

How long does it usually take for scars to fade after a mummy makeover?

  • The healing process varies for each individual, but most scars begin to fade significantly within 6 to 12 months after surgery. It’s important to note that while scars typically become less noticeable, they do not disappear completely.

Are there any specific foods I should eat or avoid to help my scars heal better?

  • Focusing on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can support your body’s healing process. Foods high in vitamin C, zinc, and protein are particularly beneficial for wound healing and scar minimisation. It’s advisable to limit the intake of processed foods, high-sugar foods, and excessive fats as they can contribute to inflammation.

When can I start using scar treatment products after my surgery?

  • The appropriate time to start using scar treatment products varies, depending on the product and the specifics of your healing process. Generally, it’s safe to begin once Anthony confirms your incisions have fully closed and there’s no sign of infection. This can be as soon as 2-4 weeks post-surgery for some products, but always follow your surgeon’s recommendations.

Is it normal for scars to appear worse before they get better?

  • Yes, it’s common for scars to go through various stages of healing. In the early stages, scars may appear raised, red, or dark and can feel firm. Over time, they typically become flatter, softer, and lighter in colour. Understanding that this process is normal can help manage expectations regarding scar appearance during the healing journey.

Further Reading about Surgery with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan

Medical References about How to Minimise Mummy Makeover Scars