Scars can be a result of trauma, previous surgery or a general skin condition (i.e. acne). They can serve as a constant reminder to patients of an unpleasant experience. Many patients elect to undergo scar revision to improve their appearance and self-confidence.
There are a multitude of treatment options to enhance the appearance of scars. We specialize in making scars less noticeable and blend in with the rest of the body. The size, type, texture, color and configuration of the scar all factor in to which treatment modality is best. At your consultation, a provider will review your goals and customize treatment options accordingly.
Depending on the appearance of your scar, either surgery, laser therapy, fillers and/or cutaneous resurfacing techniques such as dermabrasion will be utilized. Regardless of which modality is chosen, a smooth, well concealed scar is the goal.
Various surgical options exist, including elliptical excision, Z-plasty, geometric broken line closure, W-plasty, and local flaps, to reorient, remove or camouflage scars. While most scars are amenable to surgical procedures, there is a balance between minimizing the appearance of a scar and not creating additional scarring.
Lasers and other cutaneous resurfacing procedures are best for raised or “rough” scars. A portion of the outer layer of skin is removed with either a laser or abrading tool which smoothes the scar and surrounding area. The scar then becomes less noticeable with time. Vascular lasers are also an option to treat hypervascular (red or pink) scars.
Fillers, on the other hand, are best for depressed scars without significant overlying skin changes. Fillers bring depressed scars to the same level as the surrounding skin, making them less noticeable.
Recovery will depend on which treatment option is performed. Typically with surgery, patients will have sutures in for one week. After one week, sutures are removed and patients can return to light activity. The resulting incision will then fade over the course of a few months. Patients are able to apply makeup once their sutures are removed to further conceal the incision.
Patients who undergo laser resurfacing will need to be diligent with moisturizing their resurfaced skin for the first 10-14 days. Afterwards, they tend to have some minor residual redness over the treated area which gradually fades with time. Patients are asked to avoid the sun for a few weeks and to apply sunscreen daily.
Fillers require minimal downtime, with only some minor bruising or swelling that quickly subsides.
Scars go through various phases of wound healing. Often times it is best to delay scar repair until most, if not all, of the wound healing process is complete. This can be anywhere between six to twelve months. This allows the wound to fully heal from the initial trauma. In some instances, scars can be treated earlier.
Scarring is a natural process after soft tissue injury. It is important to have realistic goals when pursuing scar revision. Every effort is made to conceal the resulting scar and make it unnoticeable to the discerning eye. Scars can not be completely removed however. A patient’s age, skin color, skin type, scar location and type of scarring can all impact the success of scar revision.
Scar revision procedures are performed in the office under local anesthesia. Oral sedation is available if needed. Patients are able to go home the same day.