Scar Revision and Scar Resurfacing
Scars are the body’s natural way of healing lost or damaged skin, but they can physically uncomfortable or make a person feel unattractive. Our team of doctors and medical specialists are here to guide you through surgical and non-surgical treatment options for scar revision. We will create a personalized plan to help you become comfortable in your own skin.
What is Scarring?
Scarring can be caused by injury, burns, or surgery. They are often higher or lower than the unaffected skin around it, and different in color. Scar severity depends on the size and depth of the wound, the blood supply to the area, and the thickness and color of the skin, among other factors. Some people - especially those with deeper skin tones - have a tendency to produce prominent, raised scars called keloids.
What is Surgical Scar Revision?
Scar revision is designed to help restore both appearance and function. It can be used on most types of scars. A consultation with your surgeon will tell you if scar revision is right for you. Learn more about types of scar revision treatments.
Why is Scar Revision Important?
No matter the cause, scars can be unsightly and uncomfortable, sometimes even itchy or painful. Revision can help restore a more natural look and reduce discomfort.
Examples of scars most commonly treated include:
- Hypertrophic scars - generally thick, red, and raised in appearance
- Keloids - often found on the earlobe, shoulder, and breastbone; appear most commonly in dark-skinned individuals
- Contracture – severe scarring resulting from a large loss of skin; most commonly found in patients who have experienced burns, and can cause the skin to pull together in a painful way that limits movement
What Can Scar Revision Do?
While no scar can be permanently "erased," scars can be greatly improved by scar revision, particularly scars that:
- Are raised or sunken
- Have contour irregularities
- Have poor lines of orientation
- Are mismatched in color to the patient’s regular skin tone
- Were produced by blunt trauma
Talking to Your Surgeon about Scar Revision
You and your surgeon will discuss how scar revision will affect your scars and whether revision is right for you. Together you will discuss what you expect from revision, what can be achieved and the long-term benefits, and decide on a course of action. Your surgeon will develop a personalized treatment plan including the right revision technique for you.
During the initial consultation, please be ready to:
- Provide a complete medical history, including information about previous surgical procedures; past and present medical conditions; and any medications or supplements you are taking
- Have a complete physical examination
- Have measurements and photographs taken for your medical record.
- Discuss possible risks and complications
Before your procedure, you will receive an information packet that explains everything you should do and know before your procedure date. If right for you, your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating, drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.
Crozer Health offers state-of-the-art surgical suites and recovery areas. The majority of these scar revision procedures are completed in an outpatient setting.
There are multiple types of scar revision treatments available. Your surgeon will determine what type is rights for you in your personalized treatment plan. Treatment options may include:
CO2 Fractional Laser
A revolutionary tool in scar treatment, the CO2 laser uses microscopically small “microbeams” that penetrate far under the skin to treat scar tissue and stimulate the body to produce new, healthier collagen. Applied in a fractional pattern over the surface of the treatment area, the CO2 laser leaves areas of untouched skin to promote quicker healing. The result is deep dermal regeneration that dramatically improves skin elasticity and appearance. Learn more about the C02 fractional laser skin resurfacing procedure.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
With this procedure, lasers remove the top layers of skin, allowing new, smooth skin to form. The laser can also sometimes be used to treat abnormal red pigmentation of hypertrophic and keloid scars.
A vascular laser works by shrinking blood vessels that feed the scar, thus improving the coloration of red scars. Though done without anesthesia, the treatment feels like little more than a rubber band snapping on the skin.
Collagen Injections are used to raise, or fill in, sunken scars. Collagen is a natural animal protein. The results of collagen injections are immediate but not permanent, and the procedure will eventually need to be redone as the collagen absorbs into the body,
Dermabrasion smoothes out surface irregularities such as deep lines or scars by removing the topmost layers of the skin. The afflicted area will be injected with anesthetic and then carefully buffed with a rotating brush or a diamond wheel until the desired amount of skin is removed.
Silicone Gel Sheets
Silicone gel sheets can help flatten hypertrophic and keloid scars. These clear sheets are placed on the scarred area and worn 24 hours a day.
Steroid Applications and Injections
Steroids can help flatten and reduce the redness of hypertrophic and keloid scars. They are applied or injected into the scar to break down the skin's collagen. These injections can also help reduce itching and pain associated with such scars.
Z-Plasty and Related Tissue-Rearrangement Techniques
Z-Plasty is a technique used to re-orient scars to make them better blend in with the skin’s natural creases and lines. The skin around the scar is cut into small flaps, often in the shap of a Z hence the procedure’s name. Then the flaps are repositioned to follow original contours.
Z-plasty can also help relieve the pressure of contracture scars, which are scars that restrict muscular movement, and is commonly used in reconstructive burn surgery.
For skin grafts, doctors take skin from a healthy part of the body and transplant it to the injured area. While not always visually appealing because the grafted skin may not match the skin around it, grafts can greatly restore function to a severely scarred area.
In this procedure, a "balloon" is inserted under a patch of healthy skin near a scar. The balloon is filled with a saline solution to stretch the skin. The scar is then surgically removed, and the balloon-stretched skin is pulled over the previously scarred area and carefully closed. his procedure is commonly used for breast reconstruction surgery and burn surgery.
You and your surgeon will discuss how scar revision will affect your scars and which treatment is right for you. Click here to find a location near you.