Effective Ways CKD Patients Can Significantly Minimize Or Entirely Prevent Surgical Scars

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For Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients, specifically those with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), scars are often a necessary trade-off for must have surgery such as implanting an Arteriovenous Fistula, inserting a catheter, receiving a Kidney Transplant, and other required life saving procedures.  Many CKD patients are concerned about the appearance of their resulting scars post-surgery. However, there are steps you can take before and after surgery to promote optimal healing and dramatically improve the look and feel of surgical scars.

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A specific type of cell in the skin (Fibroblasts) is responsible for healing wounds because the cell helps to form collagen. Vitamin C assists our bodies in producing collagen which is why the supplement is especially important

both before and after surgery. Talk with your surgeon about recommended dosing, but the typical aim is 500mg twice a day before surgery, and until the incision is completely healed, according to Dr. Leslie Baumann. Protein also plays a vital role in wound healing, so CKD patients should discuss with their Nephrologists and surgeons to increase their intake before and after surgery. Your cells use the amino acids found in protein as building blocks to produce new cells.

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By applying a retinoid cream to the areas where incisions will be placed four weeks prior to surgery, you will stimulate the stem cells in your skin so they will produce new cells faster. However, do not use retinoids after surgery because they actually slow healing by inhibiting the enzymes that are needed to rebuild affected tissue, Dr. Baumann suggests.

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A few other steps that promote good healing include topical products like Mederma (available at the drugstore) or the silicone-based Keta Cote, which ensure that scars don’t become raised or discolored. In some cases, growth factor creams or serums can help, but be sure to check with your surgeon before putting anything on your wounds or scars. Still, perhaps the easiest thing you can do to prevent hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) and ensure optimal healing is avoid sun exposure. Cover the area by wearing sun protective clothing when outside. You may also consider gently applying sunscreen to the area upon your Nephrologists' approval.

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A more drastic procedure is the V Beam laser which can be used to help reduce redness. Three to six treatments have been shown to provide the best results. What's more if a scar gets too hard or thick, Kenalog injections can be used to soften the scar and decrease its size. Also, by massaging the area you will help to break up any scar tissue that may be forming. If scar tissue cannot solidify in the area, you will not have a noticeable scar. Aim to massage the area for two to three minutes a few times a day.

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Any surgery carries with it the risk of scarring. KidneyBuzz.com recommends that you closely follow your surgeons' instructions regarding aftercare for the incision area. You will likely have the area covered with a bandage until the stitches are removed. After the stitches are out, keep the area clean. You can gently wash the area daily with antibacterial soap and water.

*Note: Do not forget to order your No BP/No Stick Medical Alert Bracelet!   

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References: 

Baumann, Leslie, M.D. "Tips to Minimize Surgical Scars." Http://health.yahoo.net/. Yahoo Lifestyles Network.
"Scar Treatments: Types of Scars and Their Treatments." Http://www.webmd.com/. WebMD, LLC.
Writer, Contributing. "How to Prevent Surgery Scars | EHow." EHow. Demand Media.