How many times have you found your old scars ‘ugly’ and ‘unattractive’? Do you keep struggling to hide them under makeup every time you go outside? Are you seeking a permanent solution to keep your ‘flaws’ out of sight? Well, a scar revision surgery is most definitely the way to improve the appearance of your scar and get an even skin tone. Here we tell you about different options that you can opt for and how they can help you, when it comes to the scar revision surgery.
What Is A Scar Revision Surgery?
A scar revision surgery minimizes the scarring and prevents any tightness in the skin caused by it. After an injury or a bout of chicken pox or even acne, what is left on the skin is a nasty ‘scar’. It is the fibrous tissue that forms and replaces the injured part of the skin as that heals. However, revision reduces or improves the appearance of the scar while rectifying skin disfigurement as well as restoring skin function.
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When To Opt For The Surgery?
A scar revision surgery can help you improve the appearance of fibrous clusters of tissue around any site of injury on your skin. These can be pitted scars, elevated scars, thick keloid scars, hypertrophic scars, contracture scars (causing tightness), and so on. Each scar is different and the extent of scarring usually depends on a number of factors including the location, size, and depth of the wound along with the characteristics of the skin. Also, scars can shrink automatically as you age, thereby getting lighter and less noticeable over time. Hence, there is no specific time to go for a scar revision surgery. According to experts, you should undergo a surgery 2-3 months after the scar matures and the wound heals.
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Types Of Scar Revision Surgery
Enhancing the appearance of a scar does not need a specific surgical procedure. Rather, there are several ways to do it. Following are the options:
1. Scar Incision
It is the easiest as well as the simplest way to revise a scar. In this method, the existing scar is cut out and the skin is sewed back carefully in order to close the incision. This leaves behind a new wound that is not as prominent as your previous scar was.
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This technique re-orients hypertrophic scars caused by very large injuries. One (or, a series) of ‘Z’ or ‘V’-shaped incisions are made through the scar tissue as well as some healthy skin. This creates pointed (triangular) flaps, which are then re-positioned to break up the scar. This helps in making your scar thin and less visible. It also helps ease the tightness around contracture scars by following the natural skin folds closely.
3. Punch Graft
Punch grafting technique punches out the scar along with the core skin underneath by using a small instrument. The hole in the skin is then covered with a ‘graft’ or plug (a thin layer) of unscarred skin from another part of the body (usually from behind the ear lobe). The fresh piece of skin is inserted and taped into the site of injury to replace the old, depressed scar with a smoother and less conspicuous one. This technique is widely used when the scar covers a relatively smaller area but is very deep.
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4. Skin Flap
This is similar to punch grafting, with the difference being that it is done on a superficial level. The scar is cut out from the upper layer of the skin and is covered with a ‘flap’ of fresh skin that is grafted from a healthy part of the body. This ‘flap’ indicates thick skin including fat, nerves, blood vessels, and muscle. Skin Flap technique is used to revise a scar generated due to a large amount of skin loss and it mostly addresses the concern of improving the function rather than the appearance of the skin.
All scar revisions surgeries are performed under anesthesia. It could be sedation, local anesthesia or general anesthesia based on the extent of the scar.
Once you are through with the surgery, you will have a dressing covering the incision(s). There can be light swelling, bruising, and irritation around it. Make sure that you do not scratch or itch that operated area right after the surgery. All these effects should go away within a couple of weeks of the treatment. After that, you would have to visit the doctor in order to get your dressing removed and the progress of healing checked. But do not expect instant results. It will take at least a couple of months for the scarred area to completely reconstruct itself and get improved in appearance. However, you can resume your normal physical activities in a couple of weeks after the surgery.
An elastic or plastic dressing is used in keloid revision while a light dressing is used in other types of surgery. The stitches are removed after 3-4 days or 5-7 days for face and other parts of the body respectively.
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Risks And Complications
Scar revision surgeries are simple cosmetic procedures that are mostly successful. But sometimes, if not performed correctly, they can lead to bleeding, blood clotting, and infections. Other risks involved in the surgery include breathing issues, scar recurrence, formation or recurrence of keloids, separation of wound, etc. So, make sure that you consult with a qualified and reputed surgeon while planning to get the surgery done.
[N.B.: Do not expose your revised scar to the sunlight frequently. It will change both the color and the texture of the wound, thereby preventing its appearance to be better.]
Costs Of Surgery
As mentioned above, there are different types of surgery, which are usually chosen based on the extent of the scar to be revised. Hence, the costs associated with them also vary widely. However, an average cost of the scar revision surgery usually ranges from $1,900 to $2,100.