Human skin can be tricky. When injured it will invariably create a scar; that’s just the healing process as it builds collagen. But how that scar develops and how noticeable it will be is unpredictable. When you have a scar that you feel is too visible, you can opt for scar revision with our board-certified plastic surgeons at Elite Plastic Surgery. Although no scar can be magically removed completely, our team has the surgical expertise to vastly improve its appearance. To do so we may first try injections of steroids to minimize the scar. After that, it may come down to scar revision surgery.
Here is some information about common scars and possible revision approaches with your Elite surgeon.
Let it settle down first
Scars usually are at their ugliest early on after the injury. Most scars become less noticeable with time. Plus, we can treat some scars with steroids to relieve tenderness and itching, and to possibly shrink them.
That’s why we recommend waiting for a year or even longer after your injury before you decide to have scar revision surgery.
Types of scars
All scars are not created equal. That surprises many people, thinking all scars are the same. The type of scar can dictate the way our surgeons work to minimize its appearance.
- Keloid scars
Keloid scars are thick, puckered, itchy clusters of scar tissue that extend beyond the edges of the original wound or incisions. They are often red or darker in color than the adjacent skin. Keloids develop when the body continues to produce collagen in the area of the injury after a wound has already healed.
Keloid scars are more common in darker-skinned people, and they are most common on the breastbone, on the earlobes, and on the shoulders.
- Hypertrophic scars
Hypertrophic scars look like keloid scars with one important difference — they remain within the boundaries of the original wound or incision. Like keloid scars, they are thick, red, and raised. They often improve with time or with steroid injections.
Burns or other injuries that create a loss of a large area of skin may form a scar that pulls the edges of the skin together. This process is called contraction and gives this scar its name, contracture. Contractures may affect the adjacent muscles and tendons, restricting normal range of motion and movement.
In revision surgery, the scar tissue is cut out. How this is done involves the different approaches. Sometimes simply cutting the scar out and closing the incision with tiny stitches vastly reduces the scar. Other times, our surgeons use Z-plasty, a surgical technique used to reposition a scar so that it more closely conforms to the natural lines and creases of the skin, where it will be less noticeable. In Z-plasty, the old scar is removed, and new incisions are made on each side, creating small triangular flaps of skin. These flaps are then rearranged to cover the wound at a different angle, creating a “Z” pattern. More complicated options are skin grafts and flap surgery.
If you choose to have scar revision, the experience of your surgeon is paramount to the quality of your results. Trust the board certification and experience of our Elite Plastic Surgery team to deliver the results you seek. Call us at (616) 459-1907 to schedule a consultation for scar revision.