Know All About Scar Surgery

CONTENTS

How Do I Remove Scars?

Some scar marks from burns, injuries, cuts, surgery or other trauma take time to fade away and are tough to conceal. Scar marks are formed in the process of healing of damaged skin and tissues. Some individuals may experience an over-active healing process leading to the formation of hypertrophic or keloid scars. While hypertrophic scars do not extend beyond the wound site, and are thus not as harmful, keloids extend beyond the original injury and may hamper movement. Similarly, contracture scars, which are the results of burns, may tighten around the wound, impacting a person’s ability to move. If such scars go deeper, they damage the muscles and tissues. Thus, while some scars do not cause medical problems and eventually fade over time, others may have a negative impact on the individual’s health. In such cases, it becomes necessary to undergo surgery for the removal of such scars.


A Scar Surgery can help you get rid of scars caused due to incisions, burns or allergy.

What is Scar Surgery?

Poor healing after a procedure can result in scars. Scar surgery is an effective method to remove the scars or make them thinner to improve appearance. The procedure involves rejoining the normal skin or hiding the scar in the hairline.

Scar surgery involves modification of scars on the body to make them become as inconspicuous as possible. Wounds that have healed properly can result into scars that can affect one’s appearance in an adverse manner. It is, however, not possible to remove the scars completely. Scars can appear on the skin due to various reasons like burns, allergy, injury, surgery etc. These kinds of accidents generally damage tissues in the skin, leading to the formation of the scars. A scar surgery can include skin grafts, surgery, laser therapy etc.


Who Are The Ideal Candidates For A Scar Surgery?

You are a good candidate if:

You are physically healthy

You do not smoke

You have a positive outlook and realistic goals for your scar revision surgery

You do not have active acne or other skin diseases in the area to be treated


What Are The Different Types Of Scar Surgeries?

Many diiferent kinds of procedures are available today, to cure scars from surgery, burns or accidents.

Dermabrasion
Dermabrasion may be used to minimize small scars, minor skin surface irregularities, surgical scars, and acne scars. It involves removal of the top layers of skin with an electrical machine. As the skin heals from the procedure, the surface appears smoother and fresher.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are often used to treat sun-damaged skin, irregular pigmentation, and superficial scars. The top layer of the skin is removed with a chemical application to the skin. By removing the top layer, the skin regenerates, which improves the skin's appearance.

Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery can help reduce the size of scars by freezing the top skin layers. The freezing causes the skin to blister.

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing uses high-energy light to burn away damaged skin. Laser resurfacing may be used to minimize wrinkles and fine scars.

Punch Grafts

Punch grafts are small skin grafts to replace scarred skin. A hole is punched in the skin to remove the scar, which is then replaced with unscarred skin. Punch grafts can help treat deep acne scars. Punch graft price generally ranges between 200-750$ around the world.

Surgical Scar Revision

Surgical scar revision involves removing the entire scar surgically and rejoining the skin. Although a new scar will form, the goal of the surgical technique is to create a less obvious scar. 

 


 

What To Do Before A Scar Surgery?

  • Stop smoking prior to scar reduction surgery. Smoking can seriously inhibit your body’s ability to recover, and can lead to many complications or a longer recovery time.

  • Arrange for a means of transportation. After your surgery you might feel slightly unwell due to the anaesthetic used, and will not be able to drive yourself home.

  • Avoid taking aspirin 7 days before the surgery. Aspirin will make your blood thin and you will bleed more heavily during the surgery and recovery stages.

  • Do not drink any alcoholic beverage for one week prior to surgery. Alcohol, even one beer a day, will lead to thinning of the blood and cause complications during and after the surgery.

 


 

What Is The Post-operative Care For A Scar Surgery?

  • Take pain medication as prescribed in the after care instructions by your doctor. Do not take aspirin or any products containing aspirin.

  • Do not drink alcohol for 3 weeks after the surgery as it can lead to excess blood flow.

  • Do not smoke, as smoking delays the stages of healing and increases the risk of complications.

  • Start walking as soon as possible, as this helps to reduce swelling and lowers the chance of blood clots.

  • Avoid exposing scars to sun for at least 12 months.

  • Keep incisions clean and inspect daily for signs of infection during the recovery time of the scar surgery.

  • No tub soaking while sutures or drains are in place. 


What Is The Diet For A Scar Surgery?

Vitamin C is an essential cofactor in the healing process. Without adequate supply of vitamin C, skin breakdown and impaired wound healing can't occur.

Include high fiber food items such as whole grain breads, fruits, vegetables and cereal in your diet. High fiber foods prevent constipation, a common complication after surgery.

Always stay hydrated. It is essential to drink at least 8 glasses of water in one day. This will improve the health of your skin and prevent it from cracking.

Consume food items such as sweet potatoes, which are rich in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for a healthy immune system and cell growth.


What Are The Realistic Expectations From A Scar Surgery?

  • Results of scar revision can vary depending upon the appearance and size of the scar, the health of the patient and what has caused the scar.

  • Minor scars can be treated directly by injection of scar medicine or collagen injections into the scar site. This immediately reduces the redness and the size of the scar.

  • Most scars cannot be erased permanently. Some scars cannot be cured or might still leave a scarred portion even after revision. However, scars before and after treatment have visible difference in appearance.

  • Scars can be of many types: keloids, hypertrophic or contracture scars, etc. each has different possibilities of revision.

  • Revision of scars also depends upon the skin type of the patient. So it’s better to consult your doctor about what to expect from the surgery.


What Are The Pros And Cons Of Scar Surgery?

  • Pros

  • Cons

  • Scar revisions provide an improved skin tone and texture. They help even out layers of skin and sometimes fillers are added to plump up the skin to match neighbouring areas of skin.

  • Reshaping of scars help to make scars less noticeable

  • Minor scar procedures, have the least recovery times and with a qualified surgeon, all the scar tissue can be removed.

  • Some procedures to remove scars involve non invasive techniques which help place a mind at ease, especially in situations where a person is possibly apprehensive to go under the knife.

  • Some scars damage skin and muscles, and revisions help restore flexibility and mobility in that part of the body.

  • Scars that give rise to keloids, cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Scar surgeries benefit the patient by reducing the irritation and pain.

  • The factual truth of the surgery is that it might not completely remove a scar. Some portions of the scar have to be tucked away into natural folds and creases of the skin.

  • Invasive revisions tend to have recovery times extending to over a week. 

  • Some scars require physical therapy in order to restore flexibility in the previous scar site.

  • In rare cases scar revisions can cause hyper or hypo pigmentation, leading to unevenness in the skin tone.


Who Should Avoid Undergoing A Scar Surgery?

Candidates are carefully screened by the surgeon based on their medical history, scar problems and current health condition to determine whether they are fit for undergoing the surgery or not.

  • The patient should be a non-smoker and a non-drinker as alcohol and nicotine can slow down the recovery process by leading to excessive bleeding. 

  • He also must not have a family history of keloids or problems like lupus, diabetes, etc. These problems weaken the immune system and affect the rate of healing after the surgery.

  • In case of pregnant women, scar revision is best suited after pregnancy. But, there are always some non abrasive procedures available which the women can opt during pregnancy also. 

  • Another important thing is that the patient should be emotionally stable and have reasonable expectations from the scar revision process.

 


 

What Are The Alternatives To A Scar Surgery? 


Home Remedies

There are a number of home remedies available for the treatment of scars. Vitamin E supplements in the form of oil or capsules, is an effective method to reduce scarring. Rich food sources for the same are almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter etc. Application of lemon juice, aloe vera, cocoa butter, olive oil, baking soda, mustard seed oil, lavender oil and rosehip seed oil on the scars, are also believed to lighten scars and make them disappear faster. However, such home remedies do not promise sure shot results and may involve considerable time to show effects. 

Soft Tissue Augmentation

Scars can be reduced by injecting implants of hyaluronic acid. In this procedure, the correction is permanent. To reduce the size of hypertrophic scars and keloids, which are scars composed of collagen, intralesional injections of corticosteroids and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) can be used. These injections affect the scars by reducing the collagen producing cell populations, decreasing formation of new blood vessels around the scars and scarring of tissues. However, these may have adverse side effects such as hyperpigmentation, skin irritation, and ulceration. 

Laser Therapy

This process uses light radiations to destroy the scarred tissue. Different types of lasers are used to lighten and flatten scars. 

Resurfacing Techniques

Dermabrasion and chemical peels can reduce the visibility of scars on a person’s body. It promotes growth of new cells by scraping off the outer, scarred layer of the skin. These are performed by hand-held tools and can only treat acne scars or minor irregularities.

Skin Grafts

This procedure of removing scars is generally used to treat burn marks by positioning skin from a different body part to the area of the scar, where the damaged tissue is cut out. However, this procedure is intrusive and while it does help in scar removal, it is not best suited for all types of scars.

 


 

What Are The Temporary Side-effects Of Scar Surgery?

Scar surgery or scar revision is aimed at removing or reducing the scars that had occurred due to an injury or a previous surgery or any other such cause. 

  • The most common complication of surgical scar revision is infection and bleeding. Infection can also develop after non-abrasive scar revision but it is rare. Such a condition is however temporary and can be treated by antibiotics.

  • Another temporary risk that might occur is hyper and hypo-pigmentation. This is generally a lot more common in dark skinned people. Hyperpigmentation is the temporary darkening of areas of skin which makes scarred tissue more noticeable. So, patients should consult their surgeon about the same before surgery.

  • Sometimes, scarring might lead to skin flap necrosis because the scarred skin layer loses supply of blood and the cells die. Also, more severe scars may develop because the skin gets irritated or allergic to the revision process. However, this is temporary in most cases and good surgeons are mindful to not let this happen.

 


 

How To Choose A Surgeon For A Scar Surgery?

Choosing the right plastic surgeon for your scar revision surgery can significantly increase your chances of getting the treatment you expect. First, you should look for surgeons certified from medical boards especially in plastic surgery. Some of the doctors can be mere dermatologists, so be careful while choosing. A qualified cosmetic surgeon is best suited to perform your procedure.

Make a checklist of few such doctors and talk to each of them before making a decision. Ask them about their experience in treating the scars. Ask them about their success rates in the treatment of scars of all types including surgical, traumatic, acne, etc. Also ask them to provide reports and records to substantiate their claims.

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