Whether caused by injury, acne, surgery, burns or other means, scars can leave individuals feeling anxious and self-conscious. For some people, scars leave a visual representation of a difficult emotional experience. Fortunately, there are many options to greatly improve the appearance of scars and reduce their negative impact on an individual’s self-esteem.
Types of Scars that Benefit from Scar Revision
Common scars that benefit from scar revision procedures include those from acne scarring and surgical scarring. Each treatment plan is individually customized for each specific need, depending on the client and the problem area and cause.
Scars can leave a variety of irregularities and discolorations as well as abnormal skin texture.
Common scar types include:
- Hypertropic scars : These scars are thick clusters of scar tissue that build up right over a wound site. They can be red and raised or become lighter or darker than the surrounding skin overtime.
- Keloid scars : These scars are larger than hypertrophic scars. Oftentimes keloid scars are painful and itchy. They extend beyond the edges of the original wound and are common on the face, neck, ears and shoulders, where there is little underlying fatty tissue. Keloid scars are common after some surgical incisions or burns.
- Acne scars : These can present as discolorations in skin and even present with skin pocketing or depressions. They can be small and localized, or cover a vast amount of skin, such as over the cheeks.
Scar Revision Treatments
Injectable treatments : Injectable fillers are used to fill depressed areas of skin as a result of scarring. The injectable material fills in the concave areas of skin, making the area more plump and supple. When using injectables, results can last from several months to several years, depending on the type of injectable used. When utilizing injectables, the treatments must be repeated to maintain the results.
Surface treatments : Surface treatments are the most commonly used treatment for scar revision. Surface treatments soften the irregularities of the skin texture, reduce pigmentation issues and promote tissue regeneration.
Surface treatment options include:
- Dermabrasion : Dermabrasion is a treatment that works by mechanically polishing the top layer of skin, sloughing off skin cells to reveal a brighter, more youthful glow.
- Laser treatments : Light therapy creates changes to the surface of the skin, allowing new skin cell production at the scar site. The light energy creates microscopic holes in the skin, triggering the body’s natural healing mechanisms. The layer removes the upper layer of the skin epidermis and stimulates new collagen production, creating a brighter and more even skin texture.
- Radio frequency treatments : Fractionated bipolar radio frequency technology stimulates collagen production deep in the dermis layer of the skin, without superficial skin damage. The energy creates deep heating to stimulate a natural healing response, and collagen production. With new collagen production, the skin has improved tone and texture.
- Chemical peels : Chemical treatments are applied to the skin to remove damaged superficial skin cells, improving skin texture and color.
- Skin bleaching : Medications applied to the scar help to lighten scars with darkened pigmentation.
Depending on the size and extent of the scar, surgical scar correction may be best indicated. Especially for deep or large scars, often from surgical procedures or burns, cosmetic surgery by a facial surgeon can yield great outcomes. Surgery will involve removing or restructuring the scar tissue that is existing.
Some scars require excision with a layered closure. In this case excision extends to tissue below the skin surface. The first layer uses closure below the skin surface with absorbable or non-removable sutures. Layers of closure continue building above this, concluding with closure of the surface wound.
Flap closures can be utilized to reposition a scar, make it less obvious, or improve flexibility where there is restricted scar mobility. For some cases, tissue substitutes can be used to assist in scar closure, such as after severe burn scars.
Expect during and after Scar Revision
The amount of improvement that can be achieved with scar revision depends on the type and severity of the scar. The size and location of the scar on the body will also play a factor. For some scarring, a single procedure or technique may be sufficient. For some other scars, several procedures in combination will provide the optimum results. All scar revisions will begin with a thorough consultation, in which an appropriate treatment plan will be determined.
When undergoing surface treatments or injectables, many patients will have very minimal downtime, from zero days to a couple of weeks. Your recovery will depend upon which treatments are required for your scar revision.
After a surgical scar revision, initial healing can include localized swelling, discomfort and mild discoloration. Initial healing can take 1-2 weeks and will continue for several weeks thereafter. As the scar heals, it will fade and the edges will refine. When combined with other procedures such as dermabrasion, peels, laser resurfacing and medical grade skincare, the scar will continue to fade. The final results of scar revision surgery will be long lasting, but may take several months for final results. A scar needs time for dermal remodeling and cellular turnover. It is important to understand that the body heals from an injury with scar tissue. Treatments are geared towards minimizing the appearance of the scar tissue.