Many skin injuries, whether they originated from an accident or a planned surgery, can leave a scar. Typically, a scar is composed of fibrous tissue, which is the body’s way of restoring damaged skin.
The appearance of scars can range from barely noticeable to prominent and unsightly. The latter may bother some patients, especially if the scar is on the face. Some scars may also cause discomfort or pain.
However, there are ways to treat a scar to make it less noticeable. Scar revision surgery is a common procedure that can dramatically reduce the visibility of scars and improve patients’ self-confidence of the patient.
What is Scar Revision?
Scar revision is a procedure designed to improve a scar’s appearance. Beyond aesthetics, it can also restore function if the scar has caused restriction to a certain part of the body.
While it is impossible to remove a scar completely, scar revision surgery can make a scar look much better.
Types of Scars
Scars differ in location, size, and shape. The color and texture may differ from the surrounding healthy skin, and they may be raised (bumpy) or depressed (sunken). Scars may also cause pain and itching.
Hypertrophic scars usually appear red and are typically thick and elevated. Often, they begin to develop in the weeks following an injury. The appearance of hypertrophic scars may improve with time. This is a lengthy process that may take over a year.
Contracture scars involve the skin and underlying tissue pulling together during healing. This may affect muscles, joints, and tendons, resulting in restricted movement. Contracture scars typically occur with the loss of a large skin area – for example, in cases of burns.
Keloids, large clusters of scar tissue, develop at the wound’s place and grow much larger than the original cut or burn. Keloids can be painful or itchy and severely affect the appearance of the patient. They are often red or dark in color, and most commonly appear on the face, ears, neck, shoulders, and chest.
While the original injury usually determines how large and visible a scar will be, other factors – for instance, the patient’s genetics and the scar’s location – also play a role.
Treatment options will depend on the type and size of the scar or scars.
In some cases, the doctor will recommend non-invasive treatment, such as topical medications. Another is surface treatment methods like dermabrasion (mechanical polishing of the skin), skin bleaching agents, or chemical peel solutions. These methods may be effective in treating surface scars and may assist in healing after a scar revision procedure.
Cryotherapy involves “freezing off” a scar, while in pressure therapy, a pressure appliance is worn over the affected area day and night for several months.
There are also injectable treatments for scars. For example, injectable fillers can improve sunken scars’ appearance. Steroid injections can reduce collagen formation in raised scars, making the scar less visible.
Surgical Scar Revision
Sometimes, there is no way to reach significant improvement in the appearance of a scar or the function of the affected body part without a scar revision surgery procedure, on its own, or combined with non-surgical treatments. The procedure will depend on the type of scar.
It is important to remember that any kind of surgical procedure carries risks like bleeding and infection, so the patient must follow their healthcare provider’s instructions at all times. Depending on the type of surgery, scar revision may require either local or general anesthesia.
Types of surgical scar revision include:
Skin Grafts and Skin Flaps
In the process of skin grafting, healthy tissue is removed from one part of the body and attached over the damaged area. Skin flaps are similar to skin grafts, but the removed part has its own blood supply and can come with muscle tissue.
Flaps, rather than grafts, are typically used when the damaged area doesn’t have a good blood supply, either because of its location or due to blood vessel damage.
During this procedure, a surgeon cuts along both sides of the scar, creating angled flaps. This is used to reposition the scar, interrupt its tension, and make it less visible.
During this procedure, an inflatable balloon is inserted under the skin near the damaged area. A sterile solution is used to fill the balloon, gradually stretching the skin slowly. The additional skin tissue is used to cover the scar.
Deeper scars may require layered closure. This method will be used when excision involves deep areas of tissue beneath the skin surface or highly mobile.
Laser Scar Revision
Laser therapy may help in smoothing a scar, flattening it, or removing abnormal coloration. Typically, laser therapy is used in combination with other non-surgical treatments, such as steroid injections, pressure therapy, and special dressings.
The type of laser therapy will depend on the original cause of the scar. Several treatments may be needed to achieve the desired result.
Healing after Scar Revision Surgery
Healing after breast augmentation takes time, but there are steps you can take in advance of surgery to speed up the recovery process.
Initially, post-surgery healing may include swelling, discomfort, and discoloration. This stage usually takes a couple of weeks. As the healing process goes on, the scar will slowly fade and become less visible in the following weeks.
It may take longer, several months to a year, for the final results to become visible. Often, the doctor will recommend that you continue non-surgical treatments such as steroid injections in the post-surgery period to assist healing.
While your doctor will always strive for the best results, they may sometimes recommend additional surgery or treatment upon reassessment of your condition at the end of the healing period.
When choosing among scar revision surgeons, you should feel confident that you are in the hands of professionals who prioritize your health, well-being, and looks. The staff of Soma Plastics has vast experience treating scars. They will perform a detailed assessment to determine what type of non-surgical treatment or scar revision surgery is right for you.
Call us to learn more today