At YES Medspa & Cosmetic Surgery Centre, our goal is to help you achieve Your Esthetic Solutions. Many men and women in the Vancouver area are bothered by the appearance of scars. Whether the scars are a result of surgery, trauma or acne, they can leave a lasting mark on not only your skin, but also your self-esteem.
As one of the premier plastic surgery centres in B.C. we see scars of all ages and stages of healing. Our Medical Director Dr. Mosher, a cosmetic plastic surgeon of over 24 years, has developed a number of scar management protocols for surgery patients. These strategies are routinely included in their post-surgical care. At YES Medspa, we have several non-invasive treatments available to our Vancouver-area clients designed to improve the appearance of scars – those that are new and old. In this blog we will explore the different non-invasive scar therapy treatments available and what to expect with each treatment.
What causes scar tissue?
After surgery, scar tissue will form along the incision line. A major component of scar tissue is collagen. During the healing process the body creates new collagen. Initially the scar tissue is randomly placed to help close the wound. Over time the collagen becomes more organized and aligned to provide strength. With minor injuries, this repair process results in a scar that is usually unremarkable. With deeper scars or those associated with trauma or surgery, the collagen fibres may remain randomly aligned or random patterns, resulting in scar tissue that is firmer, more colorful or textured. For many patients, pigment producing cells called melanocytes, when injured overproduce pigment and the scars turn darker. These problems are magnified in patients with darker skin types and with UV light exposure to the immature scar.
How a scar heals and forms depends on a number of factors. Skilled plastic surgical techniques can be very helpful but there are many other factors that contribute to less than ideal appearing scars. Some patients have healing patterns that make them prone to raised, colorful and wider scars. Others are prone to weaker scars. Even when a normal scar occurs, whether it is on a more publically visible location or a private part of the body, patients are often seeking options to improve the appearance of these scars. For this reason, we offer advice and a number of different treatments, strategies and products to our Vancouver-area clients.
Sometimes scars are best managed with surgery or medical treatments. Our experience physician oversight ensures that the best option is selected for each patient.
For YES Cosmetic Surgical patients, we educate and treat our patients with optimized post-operative wound care in order to give healing the best opportunity to achieve a normal and hopefully discreet appearing scar. Scientific evidence based techniques and topical products, such as CytoDerma are utilized for every procedure. These include strategies to avoid infection, minimize inflammation and encourage rapid healing. Pressure therapy, mechanical wound support and hydration of the incision is utilized. Once the wounds have closed and any sutures or staples have been removed, many of these principles continue for 4-6 weeks.
For early scars or old scars that will not benefit from further surgical or medical treatment intervention, energy based scar treatments can then be selectively considered.
Hair follicles that become trapped within a scar can interfere with achieving the best possible final scar appearance. As well, unwanted hair growth and some common hair grooming practices may worsen acne and perpetuate inflammation within a scar. Laser hair reduction is a safe method of permanently reducing the growth of darker and coarser hairs. For patients that have pigmented scars from ingrown hairs or acne caused by hair follicles, by reducing the hair growth, the acne and associated scars will fade. A series of 6 or more treatments several weeks apart may be recommended for selected scar management.
Fractional laser treatments are gentle, yet powerful. This advanced technology, offered under the diligent supervision of plastic surgeon Dr. Mathew Mosher, helps scars and stretch marks become lighter and smoother by reducing red/purple tones to the scar and boosting collagen production within the skin. This technology treats tiny pinpoint vertical columns of tissue (fractions) within the scar, without the creation of a new injury to the scar surface. This means that there is no extension of social “downtime” and no new wound care required. Mild swelling and redness can persist for up to 3 days and it is recommended you avoid sun exposure and overly warm activities, such as hot tubs and saunas for 48 hours. A series of 3-6 treatments are recommended (each a few weeks apart) to achieve improved texture and colour of scars young and old. This technology is most helpful for superficial scars and stretchmarks in skin of all colors.
Light-based treatments such as IPL, target hyperpigmentation (brown discoloration) and excess vascularity (red discoloration) within and adjacent to a scar. This technology selectively damages disperses or injures the source of unwanted scar color. Intense Pulsed Light devices have been around for more than twenty years. Just like all other technology, this modality has become safer, more effective and more efficient. After a treatment, the body then “cleans up” the excess color and the overall scar fades. Another side benefit of this treatment, is a gentle stimulation of new collagen.
For our lighter skin colored patients who have discolored scars, 3-5 treatments are recommended, spaced 3-4 weeks apart. There is little to no downtime with IPL treatments. Mild swelling and redness can persist for 1-5 days. We recommend avoiding sun exposure and excessive heat after this treatment as well.
Radio-Frequency enhanced Microneedling treatments can be used to stimulate collagen production and scar tissue reorganization to soften and flatten the appearance of deeper and more textured surgical or injury-related scars. Much like lasers and IPL, this technology has rapidly evolved. Our Morpheus8 platform has been a ‘game-changer”. Tiny and precise puncture wounds carefully customized to the scar characteristics penetrate to a specific depth. Once fully deployed, the needles deliver controlled heat via radio-frequency energy into the scar and adjacent skin. These small, controlled injuries powerfully stimulate repair and increase the production of collagen and elastin. The customization of the treatment parameters and skilled delivery of these treatments is an important part of what we do at YES Medspa.
Morpheus8 can also be used to improve thin, “wavy “and discolored skin associated with stretchmarks. More versatile and safe than many laser and light based systems, this can be used anywhere on the body and on any skin type. We recommend a series of 3-4 treatments, spaced 1 month apart. Clients can expect 1-2 days of light redness and minimal swelling.
To determine which scar therapy treatments are right for you, call our office at 604-888-9378 or submit an email request here.
Say Y.E.S. to smooth, healthy looking skin.