How Placement and Incision Closure Affect Surgery Scars

When planning for most types of surgery, most patients pay more attention to having their ailments addressed before the operation, but are often more concerned with their scars afterwards. Over the years, surgeons have begun to pay more attention to the neatness and placement of incisions before the operation to minimize the size and prominence of the resulting scars. From changing the method of closure and the size of the incision to the ability of the patient to cover the scars with clothing after the fact, scars are typically not as prominent as they used to be. There are several ways to minimize the effects of surgery scars, depending on the type of closure and incision used.


The type of incision closure used is determined by the surgeon and the location of the invasive surgery wound. Stitches on skin that is affected less by movement and pulling on the incision area may come out in as few as five days and is less likely to have prominent scarring. Tougher skin and surfaces around joints and active body parts, such as the hands, knees and elbows, has a longer stitch removal time to prevent re-opening of the incision and possibility of infection. This also increases chances of a thicker scar, especially at the entry points of the sutures and staples. Incisions can be placed in visual line with wrinkles and other features to appear less prominent.


Sutures, or stitches connect one side of the incision to the other. This helps the surgeon close the wound and prevent infection. Different types of needles and suture material have varying thicknesses and purposes. Stitches that dissolve on their own are more frequently used on the interior levels of the wound, rather than the exterior. Scars are more prominent when dissolving thread is used on the outer surface.


Surgical staples are typically easier to apply than sutures. They are also easier to remove. Staples don’t pull the skin together as tightly as sutures, which often results in a thicker, more pronounced scar.


Wound closure tape is usually reserved for minor cuts and is rarely used on surgical incisions. Tape isn’t strong enough to hold a deep incision closed, causing higher possibility of infection and a wider scar.

Surgery Scar Treatment

Reducing the effects of surgery scars can become more important to a patient when the healing process isn’t as quick or insignificant as first hoped. Surgery scar treatment might include use of antibiotics, keeping the wound free of debris and infection, scar massage, and use of silicone scar gel or sheeting. It’s wise for patients to discuss the alternatives with their doctors before surgery when possible. Planning ahead can affect the location and type of surgical closure method used.

Contact Scarfade at 1-800-771-2215 for more information on how to use our scar removal creams on surgery scars.