More often than not, scars cannot be completely erased. Still, discoloration, surface irregularities, and other subtler flaws can be cosmetically improved upon with treatments like scar revision surgery, which offer very pleasing cosmetic results while drastically improving on any poorly healed scars.
The procedure is meant to minimize the look of a scar so that it is more consistent with surrounding skin tone and texture—a specific type of plastic surgery performed to improve the condition or appearance of scars anywhere on the body.
How Scars Form
Scars are essentially visible signs that remain after a wound has completely healed, forming when the dermis is damaged and when the body forms new collagen fibers that mend the damage done to the skin, resulting in a scar. Typically, new scar tissue has a different texture and quality than the older, surrounding tissue.
There are many different kinds of scars, with most being flat or pale and others being more raised (when the body produces too much collagen). Raised scars are called hypertrophic scars or keloid scars and are more commonly found in younger and darker-skinned people.
Other scars might have a sunken or pitted appearance, occurring when underlying structures supporting the skin (like muscle) are lost. Some surgical scars also have this appearance, as do some acne scars. Finally, there are scars that can appear as stretched skin, which come out when skin stretches rapidly as in growth spurts or during pregnancy).
Understanding Scar Revision Surgery
All the various surgical techniques for scar revision are designed to make the scar as smooth and invisible as possible. It can involve everything from moving skin around to actually recreating the incision to make it less visible. What works best for any specific scar depends solely on where it is located and how it looks. Most of the time, surgeons will evaluate individual cases beforehand to discuss the many options for revision surgery.
Scar removal/revision is usually done in two fashions: either removal of the scar surgically or partial removal via dermabrasion, peels, or lasers.
As with any kind of surgery or scar revision, it is very important to follow the surgeon’s aftercare instructions to make sure the wound heals properly. Though many people may be up and about rather quickly, gradual resuming of normal activities is always advised. Furthermore, depending on the surgery performed and the site of the scar, facial plastic surgeons will explain the types of activities to avoid and the specific medications to stay away from. It is also important to remember that scar tissues require a year or more to fully heal and achieve maximum improved appearance.
Immediately after the procedure, expect to feel some discomfort, especially in the cases of facial scar revision surgery. Swelling, bruising, and redness are generally unavoidable, and though sutures are typically removed within days after the surgery, the skin still needs ample time to heal.
Facial plastic surgery and other forms of scar revision surgery essentially make it possible to correct any flaws within the skin that undermine self-confidence. Sometimes, even the slightest change in the appearance of a scar can help change how one feels about oneself. And like all other cosmetic procedures, teamwork between the physician and patient is always needed to help ensure an optimal result in scar revision.