Scar revision is performed to reduce the appearance of scars caused by injury or previous surgery. While many scars fade over time and eventually transform to become barely noticeable, many patients experience disruptions to the healing process that cause scars to become red, raised, indented or otherwise deformed.
Many patients are unhappy and embarrassed by the appearance of these scars, especially when they are located in prominent areas, and seek treatment to improve them. We provide comprehensive scar revision services to help patients achieve smooth, clear skin that they no longer have to be ashamed of.
Types of Scars
There are several different types of scars that may be sustained, depending on the type and severity of the injury, as well as the patient’s age, overall health and individual healing properties.
- Hypertrophic scars are red, raised scars filled with excessive amounts of collagen that may be itchy or slightly painful, although they are considered harmless and do not grow beyond the boundaries of the initial wound.
- Keloids are overgrown areas of scar tissue that appear as irregularly-shaped, raised, pink or red areas that may continue to grow over time. While they can occur anywhere on the body, they are most common on the face, neck, ears, chest or shoulders.
- Contractures are more severe scars that restrict movement as a result of the tissue in the area pulling together during the healing process. This type of scar most commonly occurs after large amounts of tissue loss or in wounds that occur on a joint.
Scar Revision Procedures
Scars are by definition permanent, but certain treatments can narrow, fade and otherwise reduce the appearance of severe or unattractive scarring, which is especially helpful in areas of cosmetic importance such as the face and hands. There are many surgical methods of scar revision, only some of which may be appropriate for a particular type of scar or its location. These include surgical excision, skin grafts, flap surgery, Z-plasty and others.
The best procedure for each patient will vary depending on the location and severity of the scar, as well as the age, overall health and extent of revision desired by the patient. Dr. Birndorf will develop a personalized treatment for you after a thorough evaluation of your scar.
Surgical excision is most often used for severe contracture scars, and involves making an incision to surgically remove the scar and surrounding damaged tissue with a scalpel. A skin flap or graft is used to restore the appearance of the skin in the treated area and also improve movement and flexibility that may have been affected by the contracture.
Many cosmetic procedures, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels and skin bleaching can effectively improve the appearance of discolorations and mild surface irregularities by gently removing the top layers of skin and rejuvenating the underlying layers for a restored appearance. Multiple treatments may be needed in order to achieve noticeable results.
Results and Recovery
Most of these treatments are minimally invasive and do not require any downtime. Patients may experience mild swelling, discoloration and discomfort in the treated area for one to two weeks, but will likely experience immediate, noticeable results and will no longer have to worry about the appearance of their scar. Full results may take several months to appear, but are usually long-lasting.
The effectiveness of scar reduction depends on a number of factors, including the nature of the injury, your body’s healing mechanism, the size and depth of the wound, and the thickness and color of your skin.