Scar revision is a procedure designed to change the appearance of an existing scar. During the body’s natural healing processes, scars form to replace damaged or lost skin tissues. This fibrous tissue replacement can develop on any area of the body following an injury, and they can be lumpy, flat, pigmented or sunken.
What are the benefits of scar revision?
Improving the appearance of a scar can ultimately restore normal functionality to the affected part of the body, as well as enhance the patient’s overall physical appearance.
What types of scar revision treatments are there?
Different types of scars require different kinds of treatments.
Keloid scars are thick and irregular clusters of scar tissue that develop on the site of injury, and often extend beyond the edges of the wound itself. These scars are noticeably darker in color than the surrounding skin and could develop a long time after the injury was incurred. Scar revision for keloid scars includes the use of the following:
- Pressure therapy is the application of a steady force over the area of the scar to improve its appearance
- Steroid injections administered directly into the scar tissue are used to help reduce the size of keloid scars
If a keloid scar proves to be unresponsive to these types of conventional treatments, surgery could be used to remove the scar followed by a short course of radiation treatment to minimize the risk of recurrence.
Hypertrophic scars are like keloid scars, but they only grow within the boundaries of the original injury. They also begin to develop a few short weeks after injury and are expected to improve over time. Steroid injections are the scar revision method of choice for managing hypertrophic scarring. They may also be removed using surgical techniques.
Contractures are scarred tissues that develop when a larger expanse of skin is injured or lost. The resulting scar pulls the edges of the damaged skin together creating a tightly stretched patch of skin. This type of scarring can affect the underlying muscles, tendons, and joints and result in restricted movement. Scar revision in this case includes:
- Skin grafting, which involves taking a portion of healthy skin from a separate donor site in the patient’s body and attaching this to the affected area where the scar tissue used to be.
- Skin flaps are similar to skin grafts, but the donor site skin is removed in a way that leaves the blood supply intact.
Is scar revision surgery right for me?
To determine whether or not scar revision surgery is the right procedure for you, schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons. During your visit, your doctor will speak with you about the goals you have for your appearance.
In addition to deciding on your treatment plan, your doctor will also ask you about your medical history. Bring a list of medications, supplements and vitamins you take, and have a list prepared of the questions or concerns you may have, as being open with our specialists is key to a safe and successful surgery.