Reconstructive Surgical Services
Scar Treatments at a Glance
Numerous methods are available during elective surgery to “hide” or minimize incisions including placing them in areas where they are hidden by natural facial features. However, scars resulting from trauma, skin cancer removal and reconstructive surgery can often require further treatment to optimize their appearance. Scars that can benefit from scar treatments include keloids (common on the ears, chest, back, arms and legs), hypertrophic scars (thick, raised texture) and traumatic scars that cross the natural creases of the face or junctions between different regions of the face as well as scars that are disfiguring or that affect a person’s self esteem.
Scar revision involves surgically removing the scar and performing a meticulous, tension free repair or performing surgical maneuvers to re-orient or “move” the scar. Scar revision is often delayed 6-12 months to allow the wound to fully heal and the scar to soften and mature. However, scars that interfere with facial function, such as a scar that pulls the eyelid down resulting in dryness and exposure of the eye, are treated in an urgent fashion to prevent complications and further injury. Dr. Weber’s goal when planning and completing surgery is to handle the tissue delicately and perform meticulous work to provide an optimal scar.
Steroid injections can also be used to reduce the thickness and swelling present in hypertrophic or keloid scar tissue. A series of steroid injections can often dramatically improve hypertrophic scarring and avoid the need for surgical scar treatment.
Resurfacing procedures including dermabrasion and fractional laser treatments can be used as early as six weeks following injury or surgery to flatten scars, improve their color match and camouflage the scar, itself. Recently, we have also seen significant improvement in scar appearance when resurfacing procedures are combined with injection of platelet rich plasma (PRP) into the scar tissue and onto the resurfaced scar.
The encouraging news is that most scars will improve over the first 12 months following injury. While scar revision surgery is often delayed for up to one year, we have many options to improve the appearance and texture of scars within the first few months after injury. When it comes to scar improvement, nothing substitutes for experience and meticulous technique.
Scars that can be improved include:
- Wide scars
- Depressed scars
- Thickened scars
- White or red scars
- Scars that pull and distort the face, mouth or eyelids
- Jagged scars
- Scars that cross normal facial lines and wrinkles
- Keloid or hypertrophic scars