Fortunately, there are procedures to help diminish the appearance of scars and help the affected area look more consistent with the surrounding skin’s texture and tone. These procedures go under the umbrella term of “scar revision.” In this article, you’ll learn about the various options available so that you can make a knowledgeable and informed decision about whether this procedure is right for you.
Treating Scars from Injury, Medical Conditions, and Surgery
Scars develop from a variety of circumstances. You skin may be scarred due to an injury, a medical procedure, or skin problems such as acne, pregnancy, and previous cosmetic surgery. Some people scar more than others. Age is a factor. So is ethnicity. Genetics play a part in the equation, too.
It’s important to understand that scars often fade away over time and become less visible on their own. Scars shrink and become less noticeable as they age. For scarring following a cosmetic enhancement procedure, your surgeon may recommend that you wait a year before exploring scar revision.
But every scar is unique. That’s why, for some scars, it is best to have revision surgery 60 to 90 days after the scar matures.
Treatment Options for Scar Revision
Depending on the reason for the scar and its severity, as well as other factors, your surgeon may recommend
- Topical Creams & Gels – There are prescription and non-prescription products available for the treatment of scars.
- Collagen Injections – Collagen injections can help “plump” scars that have a depressed appearance. The effects are temporary.
- Steroid Injections – Steroids have been shown to help soften and reduce hard scars. You will need a series of injections administered over a four to six week period.
- Silicone Gel Sheeting – Waterproof, flexible silicone gel sheets can help improve the appearance of protruding scars by softening and flattening them, as well as lightening the colour of reddened scars. One advantage to silicone gel sheeting is that it adheres well to even tricky areas such as joints.
- Dermabrasion – A common cosmetic treatment to rejuvenate skin, dermabrasion uses an abrasive device to remove the upper layers of the skin. The newly exposed skin layer can then heal with a more natural appearance.
For more pronounced scarring, the following options are recommended:
- Laser scar resurfacing – This technique uses laser beams to remove the top layer of scarred or damaged skin. The layer of skin underneath is then exposed and heals smoother and tighter. Please note, Dr Roth does not perform this procedure himself.
- Scar Revision Surgery – In this procedure, scar tissue is removed surgically, and healthy skin surrounding the original scar is stretched to cover the wound. If the scar area is large, however, a skin graft may be needed.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Scar Revision?
Scar revision can be performed on men and women of any age who are bothered by a scar somewhere on the body. Beyond that, good candidates are:
- Physically healthy.
- Free of acne and other skin disorders in the area to be treated.
- A non-smoker.
It is also important to have a realistic understanding of what scar revision can do for your appearance.
What to Expect if You Choose Scar Revision
There are four phases to scar revision:
- Step #1 – Consultation – During this phase, you will meet with your surgeon who will examine you, take your complete medical history, listen to your concerns, and work with you to determine the best course of action.
- Step #2 – Anaesthesia – Scar revision treatments are performed using local anaesthesia, intravenous sedation and/or general anaesthesia. The goal is to make you comfortable and calm for your procedure.
- Step #3 – Treatment – Treatment is generally done in your surgeon’s office. If you are having a surgical scar removed, your surgeon will make incisions in your skin, treat the scar, and then close the incision. Advanced techniques in scar revision include complex flap closure to reposition a scar so that it is less conspicuous, or improve flexibility where contracture has restricted mobility.
- Step #4 – Recovery, Healing & Rejuvenation – After invasive procedures, you will likely experience some redness, tenderness, and swelling. This is normal and to be expected. How long it will take to recover fully is highly individual.
Because different parts of the body heal differently, recovery times vary depending on the procedure. Surgery to repair a scar on your leg may take as long as two weeks to heal, while a procedure on your face may take only about a week.
Possible Risks and Complications Associated with the Procedure
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks related to the administration of anaesthesia and the possibility of infection. Other risks specific to scar revision include:
- Blood clots.
- Scar recurrence.
- The formation of keloids (an area of irregular fibrous tissue formed at the site of a scar or injury).
How Much Does Scar Revision Cost?
There are so many choices for scar revision that it is impossible to quote an “average” price. That being said, if you opt for scar revision surgery, you will have expenses related to the surgeon, the anaesthetist and possibly the hospital.