Making a Scar Less of a Scar

Scar Revision Procedures Grand Rapids MIAt Elite Plastic Surgery, our plastic surgery team of Drs. Armstrong, Cullen, and Martin are expert at the wide variety of cosmetic surgeries we provide our patients. But each of them is also a general surgeon. When you’re dealing with an ugly scar from a trauma, burn, or previous surgery, you’ll be glad they are handling your scar revision surgery.

You may not know this, but there are different types of scars and they require different approaches to lessen to appearance.

Keloid scars

Keloid scars are the most common candidates for revision, as they are the most visible. Keloid scars are thick, puckered, itchy clusters of scar tissue that grow beyond the edges of the wound or incision. They are usually red or darker than the skin surrounding them. Keloid scars occur because the body continues to produce collagen, which is tough and fibrous, after the wound has healed. They are the most common on the shoulders, over the breastbone, and on the earlobes.

For keloid scars, we often first look to treat it with a steroid injected directly into the scar. If this doesn’t help, the scar tissue can be cut out and the wound re-sutured. A skin graft is normally used.

Hypertrophic scars

Hypertrophic scars are often confused with keloids because they both tend to be raised, thick, and red. The difference is that hypertrophic scars stay within the boundaries of the original incision or wound. Keloid scars grow outside the boundaries of the initial wound. Steroid applications or injections often improve the appearance of hypertrophic scars.

If those conservative approaches aren’t working, your Elite surgeon will remove excess scar tissue surgically, and he may reposition the incision so that it heals in a less visible pattern. Steroid injections afterwards can prevent a thick scar from reforming.


Burns or other injuries resulting in the loss of a large area of skin may form a scar that pulls the edges of the skin together. This is called contracture and it may affect the adjacent muscles and tendons, restricting normal movement.

Correction of a contracture usually involves cutting out the scar and replacing it with a skin graft or a flap. Physical therapy may be needed afterwards to regain full function.

Facial scars

Facial scars, obviously, can be a source of embarrassment. We can improve their appearance usually by cutting out the scar and closing it back with tiny stitches, creating a thinner, less noticeable scar. Or, if the scar is near a natural crease, he may reposition it to align with the crease.

If you have a scar that is bothering you, please give our team at Elite Plastic Surgery a call at (616) 459-1907. We can take a look and give you a good idea of what we can do to improve it.

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