Scar revision is performed to reduce the appearance of scars caused by injury or previous surgery. While many scars fade over time and eventually transform to become barely noticeable, many patients experience disruptions to the healing process that cause scars to become red, raised, indented, or otherwise deformed.
Many patients are unhappy and embarrassed by the appearance of these scars, especially when they are located in prominent areas, and seek treatment to improve them. Dr. Frank provides comprehensive scar revision services to help patients achieve smooth, clear skin that they no longer have to be ashamed of.
Types of Scars
There are several different types of scars that may be sustained, depending on the type and severity of the injury, as well as the patient’s age, overall health, and individual healing properties.
Hypertrophic scars are red, raised scars filled with excessive amounts of collagen that may be itchy or slightly painful, although they are considered harmless and do not grow beyond the boundaries of the initial wound.
Keloids are overgrown areas of scar tissue that appear as irregularly-shaped, raised, pink or red areas that may continue to grow over time. While they can occur anywhere on the body, they are most common on the face, neck, ears, chest or shoulders.
Contractures are more severe scars that restrict movement as a result of the tissue in the area pulling together during the healing process. This type of scar most commonly occurs after large amounts of tissue loss or in wounds that occur on a joint.
Scar Revision Procedures
Scars are by definition permanent, but certain treatments can narrow, fade and otherwise reduce the appearance of severe or unattractive scarring, which is especially helpful in areas of cosmetic importance such as the face and hands. There are many surgical methods of scar revision, only some of which may be appropriate for a particular type of scar or its location. These include surgical excision, skin grafts, flap surgery, Z-plasty and others.
What Procedure Is Right For Me?
The best procedure for each patient will vary depending on the location and severity of the scar, as well as the age, overall health and extent of revision desired by the patient. Dr. Frank will develop a personalized treatment for you after a thorough evaluation of your scar.
Surgical excision is most often used for severe contracture scars and involves making an incision to surgically remove the scar and surrounding damaged tissue with a scalpel. A skin flap or graft is used to restore the appearance of the skin in the treated area and also improve movement and flexibility that may have been affected by the contracture.
How long does scar revision surgery take?
There are various methods available to Dr. Frank for scar revision surgery. They vary dramatically, as do the times involved in the surgery. Using a skin flap that includes its own blood supply will take longer than an excision of existing scar tissue and closing the new incision with fine sutures. Again, until Dr. Frank sees your particular scar and can ascertain the method he will use to improve its appearance, there is no way to tell how long your surgery will take.
What Results Can I Expect?
The effectiveness of scar revision depends on a number of factors, including the nature of the injury, your body’s healing mechanism, the size and depth of the wound, and the thickness and color of your skin.
How Fast Will Scar Revision Heal?
Most scar revisions will heal within 1-2 weeks. Dr. Frank will then want to see the patient again within one month to give advice regarding optimizing scar care.
Are scar revision results permanent?
Yes, these are surgical revisions and they are permanent. While scars are also permanent, Dr. Frank’s goal is to use these surgeries to make the scar far less noticeable moving forward. He uses different methods to match the type of scar, but the changes he makes will dramatically decrease the appearance of the scar for the rest of the patient’s life.
Will scar revision surgery remove scars completely?
Any time human skin is cut, whether through trauma or through a surgical incision, a scar will form. This is the healing process where collagen builds around the area to heal the wound. Keloid scars expand beyond the original boundary of the wound or incision. Contractures cause the most problems because they constrict movement in the area.
Dr. Frank’s surgical experience and training as a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons ensures he will do everything possible to minimize your scar. But scars cannot be erased completely. The goal is to minimize the appearance of the scar.
Qualities that make a scar successful for revision are raised or depressed scars, contour irregularities, poor lines of orientation, color mismatch, and scars produced by blunt trauma.
What are the risks involved with scar revision?
These are surgical procedures, so they involve all of the risks inherent with surgery: reaction to anesthesia, excessive bleeding, poor incision healing, infection, and the like. Thanks to Dr. Frank’s extensive surgical experience and training, these are all quite low with these surgeries.
Overall, these are low-risk procedures that can dramatically improve the appearance of a scar.
How much does scar revision surgery cost?
Dr. Frank matches the surgical method to the scar. Some methods, such as Z-plasty are less involved than others, such as when a skin graft is necessary. During your consultation, once Dr. Frank has seen your scar and has a better idea of what it will take to surgically improve it, we can give you an idea of the cost of your surgery.