It’s almost inevitable; as we lead our lives, many of us develop scars, either from injury or surgery. All incisions or injuries that penetrate beyond a certain skin depth will produce a lasting mark, but living with these marks isn’t your only option. A scar revision can improve the appearance of these marks and reduce their visibility.
Factors that Affect Scar Appearances
Healing and scar formation are complicated processes, influenced by a variety of factors.
The initial wound closure, attention to subsequent wound care, and sun exposure are all variables that can influence the ultimate appearance of the mark. Moreover, all these variables can be considered modifiable – there is the potential for some control over each of them.
Genetics, however, is something that cannot be modified and also plays a significant role in the ultimate appearance of scars. It is well known that some skin types and ethnicities have a greater tendency to develop darker, thicker and wider scars than others. Similarly, certain body areas, in all individuals, are also more prone to getting thicker marks than other parts of the body – for example, the deltoid or sternal areas.
Scar Revision Timing and Technique
In most cases, it’s important to wait for the scar to fully mature up to a year after the initial injury before considering this procedure. This provides a much more accurate assessment of the individual’s healing process and candidacy for this procedure. Revising an imperfection too early, in some cases, can ultimately delay the entire process.
Depending on the size, location and characteristics of the mark (i.e. raised or discolored), this procedure may entail the injection of steroids and/or direct excision followed by reclosure.
Steroids, like Kenalog, are anti-inflammatory medications that can help calm the inflammatory response of wound healing and improve some of the characteristics of scars.
These medications do have limitations, however, and will not likely significantly change the appearance of older and larger imperfections.
Large and irregular marks are often best revised by directly excising them and, if possible, reclosing the resultant wound using a meticulous and delicate technique. The goal is to convert a wide and irregular scar into a thin and regular one. In cases where direct primary closure is not possible, more advanced plastic surgery techniques may be necessary.
Recovery and Results
The results and recovery from this procedure vary greatly depending on the individual and the clinical scenario. I will work closely with you in deciding which technique is best for your unique case.
Discussing Your Options
If you are interested in scar revision and in the Orange County area, I will be more than happy to discuss the options that are available and help determine whether this procedure can benefit you. Schedule your consultation to get started.