I was invited to a talk on the radio this morning about scar management following a story of a football supporter who had been attacked and had sustained a long laceration to his cheek.
The conversation revolved around the scarring and the emotional impact of scars and what can be done about it.
I am always cautious when talking about scar revision because sometimes people think that plastic surgeons can remove a scar but that is not true.
I think we get that reputation because when we make a scar, we choose where to put them and know how to hide them in natural skin creases or in areas of the body where there are concavities or shadows, so that they can blend in and once settled, can be difficult to see.
Of course, it is a different story with traumatic scars and they are usually a lot more obvious than surgically created scars.
There are things we can do to change the direction of the scar and to improve them if they are raised up or dented in, which is interesting, because the discussion moved onto the psychological impact of having scar revision.
It is true that the surgery itself is often quite minimal and usually done under local anaesthetic on a walk-in, walk-out basis and the results really can be truly life-changing – except when the definition of a minor operation is one that is not happening to you.
We as surgeons can sometimes think that we are performing minor surgery, but for the patient it can bring tremendous relief from the emotional impact of having an obvious scar, particularly if it is on the face and people’s eyes are drawn to it and they keep asking you about it.
If we can do something to help it blend in and make it less obvious, it can allow you to be you and not to be defined by your physical features.
And this is true of all cosmetic surgery.
It is often deemed to be unnecessary or for vanity reasons, but I think people’s perception is far off the average person seeking cosmetic surgery.
It is usually done for them and not for anyone else and they just want to feel more confident and happier about their appearance.
It was interesting talking to Danny Kelly this morning on BBC WM because it really made me think about the impact that we have on people’s lives and sometimes we can lose sight of this and get caught up in ‘the what we are doing’ rather than ‘the why we are doing it’.