How to treat scars

Thomas Grogan, MD Orthopedic Surgeon, shares advice for parents on children's scars and what you can do to improve the way it looks
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How to treat scars

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One of the questions I get asked all the time by parents, especially parents of kids who have just had a surgery, “What do I do about the surgical scar?” Nobody likes a scar in their child. And understand a few things about scars. Number one, scars contract. That means they get smaller over time. And interestingly enough, children grow over time. So as a disfiguring scar, it’s going to improve as time goes on. Secondly, understand scars are very new tissue and specifically, as the skin starts to grow together to form the scar, it’s very sensitive to ultra violet rays, or sun burning, if you will. So one thing I always recommend to parents is pick up some sunscreen. And they actually have sunscreen that is effectively like a little chapstick that you can put right on the scar on a daily basis, especially during summer time when the scars are more out in the sun and have a tendency to turn that deep purple. And lastly, the question is, “What do I put on the scar? Can I do anything to improve the way it looks?” You know, although there are lots of commercially available products, I really favor the use of the old Vitamin E oil. And you can pick up Vitamin E oil in any health food store or market. And they come in little capsules and you prick the end of the capsule with a pin and put a little Vitamin E oil on the scar. And it does soften the scar – it makes it look much, much better now. But remember, it is going to look better in the future and it could always be taken care of if necessary later.

Thomas Grogan, MD Orthopedic Surgeon, shares advice for parents on children's scars and what you can do to improve the way it looks

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Thomas Grogan, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. Grogan is a practicing pediatric orthopedist in Santa Monica, California. He has seen over 40,000 patients in his practice alone. Dr. Grogan graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in Biology and received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.  Dr. Grogan’s orthopedic training has included an orthopedic residency at UCLA plus several orthopedic fellowships in pediatric orthopedics, trauma, and NIH sponsored joint replacement surgery. Following his orthopedic training he returned to Los Angeles, spending six years at Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children, including serving as Assistant Chief in 1996 and 1997. In addition to his clinical practice, he spent several years involved in managed care consulting as an orthopedic surgeon and has developed special expertise in this area. He has collaborated with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in the development of a handbook and audiotape entitled, Health Care Reform and Managed Care: A Guidebook for Orthopedic Surgeons. In addition, he has served as the lead faculty member for the AAOS for their 1995, 12 city educational seminar, “Taking Charge: Managed Care Contracting for Orthopaedic Surgeons” and as a faculty member for the AAOS’s 1996 seminar series entitled, “Winning at Risk: The Interplay of Cost, Quality, and Access in Orthopaedic Practice”.  He most recently served as a faculty member for the AAOS’s 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 seminars, “Practice Management Symposium for Practicing Orthopaedic Surgeons’. He is currently chairman of the Practice Management Committee for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and a member of their Council on Education. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, Honor Medical Society, the Sigma XI Scientific Research Society, California Orthopaedic Association (COA), the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA), the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), and is a diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

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