Leg Lengthening Surgery Scars: Types, Differences & Treatments
Surgical scars caused by leg lengthening surgery are among the most frequently asked questions about the procedure. In this article, we will talk about leg lengthening surgery scars, the differences of scars according to methods, how these scars change over time, and how to make them less visible.
Leg lengthening surgery is performed by creating various incisions on leg skin. Therefore, the formation of surgical scars on the leg is inevitable in any case. However, the size and number of scarring differ according to the method used and the surgical technique applied.
Surgery Scars in LON Method (Internal and External Combined)
LON method, which is one of the most preferred limb lengthening methods by our patients, leaves fewer surgical scars on legs than external methods. This is because the LON method requires about three months of external fixation. As mentioned above, this time range is 12 months for fully external methods.
In this method, eight surgical scars are formed on each leg, including incisions where the procedure is applied and connection pins of the external fixator. These scars become less visible gradually after device removal surgery.
In the LON limb lengthening method, keeping the pin sites clean and regular dressing is crucial to prevent infection risk and new scar formation. Read this article to learn more about the possible risks, complications, and side effects of limb lengthening surgery.
Scars formed after leg lengthening surgery on the tibia with the LON method.
The most satisfactory methods for patients who want leg lengthening surgery but have deep aesthetic concerns are Precice 2 and Precice Stryde methods which are fully internal. The procedure is performed with only five small incisions in these methods. Of course, the surgeon's skill is the most crucial factor in forming less visible surgical scars in these procedures.
As in all types of surgery, surgical scars are more visible in the first months in Precice 2 and Precice Stryde methods. These scars become less visible within months after surgery. As the skin renews itself within one year after the surgery, these scars become almost invisible.
External fixators are not used in internal limb lengthening methods. Therefore, there is no infection risk to be avoided.
Surgery Scars in Fully External Methods (Ilizarov & Holyfix)
The Ilizarov method, which was applied as the first limb lengthening surgery technique, is used with various cables and screws in the leg in addition to the circular external fixator device. In this method, where no intramedullary nail is used, the external fixator device remains about 12 months until achieving complete bone consolidation. For this reason, many surgical scars will inevitably form on the leg. In addition to an uncomfortable lengthening experience, patients who have cosmetic leg lengthening surgery with the Ilizarov method also have a lot of aesthetic complaints.
The second method that leaves the most scars on the leg is the Holyfix method, a fully external method. There are no cable connections on legs in the Holyfix method, which was developed later and used with an external fixator device. In this method, the external fixator device stays pinned to the legs for about 12 months. Although it is more comfortable and leaves fewer scars than the Ilizarov method, it is far from solving the aesthetic concerns caused by cosmetic limb lengthening surgery.
What can I do to reduce leg lengthening surgery scars or make them less visible?
Choose the right surgeon
If you have decided to have limb lengthening surgery and have aesthetic concerns, you should make sure that you choose the right surgeon. Dr. Yuksel Yurttas and his highly trained operating team use minimally invasive techniques and aesthetic suture (subcuticular suture) techniques in this method. For this reason, the least possible surgical scar remains on the leg as if a plastic surgeon had done it.
Check out this article to find the best limb lengthening surgeons and limb lengthening surgery costs from all over the world.
Ask for a plastic surgeon
You can also ask your surgeon to arrange for a plastic surgeon to do the sutures for an additional fee. However, even if a plastic surgeon does your sutures, you should not expect a significant difference in the visibility of the surgical scars.
Laser scar treatment
Laser scar treatment uses photothermal energy to target intracellular and extracellular structures within scar tissue to improve color and stimulate the dermal remodeling process. However, although it is not possible to remove the surgical scars with this method, it can help reduce the appearance of scars. Instead, the aim is to reduce the mental, physical and cosmetic discomfort caused by the appearance of scars.
Remember, it is crucial to protect yourself from the sun before and after laser treatment. After you have a laser treatment, you'll need to protect your skin from the sun until your skin heals. If the sun's harmful rays hit your treated skin, you may develop another scar.
Quit smoking before your surgery
Smoking not only increases your risk of scarring but also slows your overall healing. Smoking is such a significant risk factor that some surgeons will refuse to operate on a patient who has not stopped smoking for at least two weeks before surgery. Quit smoking to reduce your risk of scarring and surgical risks.
Protein-rich and well-balanced diet
The building blocks of healthy skin are proteins. Therefore, you must provide your body with enough protein for your skin to heal. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you can eat lean protein-rich soy products instead of meat. As a result, eat a well-balanced diet rich in protein.
Take proper scar care
Taking the steps your surgeon recommends may be the most critical thing you can do to prevent scarring. Therefore, please stay away from ointments and other medications unless your doctor prescribes them.
Watch out for the infection risk
If you notice any infection signs, seek help from your healthcare provider immediately. An infection may impair healing and lead to new scarring.
Massaging an incision and surrounding tissue after it has healed can help reduce any bumps or lumps that have formed. You can learn how to massage scars at home with the help of your physical therapist. Use many vitamin-rich essential oils, aloe vera, and lotions so your fingers can glide across your skin.
Some patients who are uncomfortable with surgical scars prefer to have a tattoo. If you want to get a tattoo, have it at least one year after the operation and ensure a sterile procedure is applied.
Have questions or need further information about limb lengthening surgery and our services?
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