Is there such a thing as “scarless” cosmetic surgery

There is a lot of hype about “scar-less surgery” and unfortunately a lot of misinformation as well.  I will try to clarify scarless surgery a little.

Scarless surgery can be classified as:

  • Fetus surgery – interestingly, fetal surgery does not heal with scarring.  There are a lot of theories about why this is true and something that medical science is trying to understand.  Hopefully someday we will learn the secret and scarless surgery can be a reality.  As I can safely assume that none of my readers fit this category I will move on.
  • Scars that are much shorter than customary for a given procedure.  (But not truly scarless)
    • “scarless breast reduction” involves very small (3-5 mm) incisions for liposuction of the breast.  The scars are very short and well hidden but there ARE scars.
    • “scarless facelift” –  endoscopic facelift through shorter than customary incisions.
  • A non-invasive approach to a procedure.
    • “scarless breast augmentation” with fat grafting
    • “scarless facelifts” with laser skin tightening or fat grafting.
    • “scarless rhinoplasty” – Soft tissue injectable for correction of nasal defects.
  • Incisions through tissue other than the skin.
    • This is hot in general surgery right now.  Weight loss surgery through the stomach endoscopically by the way of the mouth for example
    • No great examples of this in cosmetic surgery.
  • Scars placed away from the operative site
    • another version of “scarless breast augmentation” or TUBA is the placement of breast implants through the navel.  The scar is actually just as long or longer than the standard approaches it is just on the abdomen.  I do not favor this approach for a variety of reasons.  I blogged about it a few weeks ago /utah-plastic-surgery/breast-implant-scars/

Confusion lies in the variety of procedures that have a number of versions of “scarless” surgery.

In my opinion, for the appropriate patient “scarless breast reduction”  and  “scarless facelift” with endoscopic lift or fat grafting have some value.  “Scarless breast augmentation” with fat grafting will likely prove to be a fringe ‘fad’ in plastic surgery.  “scarless breast augmentation” with TUBA is inaccurate and in no way solves the problem with scars in breast augmentation.

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