When to Get Scar Revision Surgery
If you are unhappy with the appearance of a scar on your body, you may be wondering whether anything can be done to get rid of it. While scars cannot be completely erased, unsightly scars can be aesthetically improved with a plastic surgery procedure known as scar revision. Learn how scar revision can improve the appearance of ugly scars and whether or not this procedure could be right for you.
Why Do Scars Form?
Scarring is a natural part of the skin’s healing process. When skin tissue gets damaged, new collagen forms in place of the broken down skin cells. Ideally, scars heal cleanly and eventually fade over time until they are virtually unnoticeable. But sometimes, this healing process can result in an uneven or raised scar that looks different from the surrounding skin. A scar may be excessively wide, hard, or dark, and it may draw unwanted attention.
What Causes Ugly Scarring?
The appearance of a scar is determined by a number of factors, including:
- Size and depth of the original wound
- Location on the body
- Age (children tend to have better healing abilities than adults)
- Skin type (people with darker skin tones are at greater risk of developing thicker, raised scars)
- Sun exposure
- Use of tobacco or alcohol
- Whether stitches were used to close the wound
These factors determine how quickly a scar will heal and what it will look like once healed. For both accidental trauma and planned surgery, countermeasures can be employed to minimize the appearance of the anticipated scar. However, it is important to recognize that certain factors like age and genetics cannot be controlled for and may lead to the development of an ugly scar even though all the appropriate steps were taken to avoid it.
When Should I Get Scar Revision?
If you are bothered by the appearance of a scar, you may want to consider scar revision. Scars can be revised any time after the wound has completely healed. If the scar was the result of accidental trauma, it is often advised to seek medical treatment and consider scar revision within six months of healing. This is because the tissue will be more elastic and amenable to the process of revision. In some cases, such as with a more severe injury, it may be necessary to wait up to two years before proceeding with scar revision so that all evidence of healing has taken place and the skin is ready for a surgical procedure.
If you are unhappy with a plastic surgery scar, bear in mind that scars take a while to mature. New or immature scar tissue is often red and firm, and it can take up to two years to soften and fade. In many cases, what first appears to be an ugly scar will flatten and fade away until it is hardly noticeable. Many patients who are initially concerned about their scar appearance shortly after surgery are very satisfied as their scars mature. However, if your scar’s appearance continues to be a concern long after your surgery, rest assured that scar revision can be performed many months after your plastic surgery procedure to improve the appearance of unsightly scars.
What Happens During Scar Revision?
Scar revision is a minor surgical procedure. The unsatisfactory scar is excised (cut out), after which the skin is released so that a precise closure can be performed in multiple layers to minimize tension on the wound. Minimizing tension on the skin helps the tissue to heal flatter and smoother. While scar revision does not guarantee perfect skin, and while the end result will still be impacted by your own healing characteristics, scar revision usually results in a much more cosmetically acceptable scar than the original scar.
Dr. Andres Taleisnik is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Orange County, California. He has performed many successful plastic surgeries as well as scar revision for patients in need. To reserve a personal consultation with Dr. Taleisnik, call (657) 294-8375 or contact us online today.