Scars indicate that the body has completed a healing process. In most people, scarring that results from a cut, incision, or injury to superficial tissue eventually fades to a point at which the appearance of the scar is barely perceptible. In certain skin tones and ethnicities, such as the Asian population, scarring tends to be darker than surrounding tissue. This can present cosmetic concerns and a decrease in self-confidence. In our Manhattan office, Dr. Lao performs scar revision to help patients feel more satisfied with their appearance.
What Is Scar Revision?
Scar revision is professional treatment conducted to minimize the appearance of a scar anywhere on the body. There are various techniques used to reduce scarring. These range from topical creams and solutions to injectable steroid treatment to surgery. The most appropriate technique to reduce visible scarring depends on the type and extent of the scar tissue that has formed.
Who Can Benefit from Scar Revision?
Any person who has a visible scar that presents emotional or physical discomfort can benefit from scar revision. A native of Taipei, Taiwan, Dr. Lao is deeply familiar with the nature in which Asian skin scars. His vast educational background and training in various countries have solidified Dr. Lao’s knowledge of cultural concerns and standards, as well as his ability to achieve outstanding results for patients of all ethnicities.
If you have a scar that is discolored, raised, or constricted, you may benefit from scar revision.
Can All Scars Be Corrected?
Numerous scar treatments exist, which has significantly improved our ability to treat a wide range of scars. While some scars may not be completely eliminated with one or more treatments, most patients are able to achieve satisfactory improvement with scar revision that has been tailored to their needs by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
Surgical Scar Revision vs Kenalog (Steroid) Injection
Injections and surgery are two common methods of treating visible scars. Each offers unique benefits.
- Kenalog injections may be administered into mild to moderate keloid or hypertrophic scars. The steroid that is administered permeates scar tissue and gradually flattens the scar.
- Injections can improve the projection of raised scars, but may not correct discoloration that concerns many people.
- Injectable treatment for scar revision is fast and has no surgical risks or downtime.
- Surgical scar revision may involve excision of scar tissue or skin grafting.
- The excision of scar tissue may be recommended for deeper scars that are causing the skin to retract inward.
- Grafting may be conducted to diminish the discoloration of a visible scar and also improve the flexibility of the skin.
How Is Surgical Scar Revision Performed?
Many scar revisions can be conducted with a local anesthetic and mild oral sedative to keep the patient comfortable during treatment. The technique that is used during the minor surgical procedure will be discussed during the initial consultation. Possible methods of surgical scar revision include:
- Scar excision involves careful incisions around scar tissue to cut out thickened, discolored tissue.
- Grafting, in which healthy tissue is either integrated into an area of scar tissue (punch graft) or placed entirely over an area where scar tissue has been removed (flap graft).
- W- or Z-plasty is a technique in which directional flaps are created to reposition new scar tissue to relieve contraction.
- Tissue expansion may be necessary in instances of severe scar contraction.
Is Kenalog (Steroid) Injection Scar Treatment a Permanent Solution?
Kenalog injections may be administered after a scar has completely healed. Depending on the extensiveness of the scar, as many as five injectable treatments, scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart. At the conclusion of the treatment protocol, the scar should be noticeably improved.
Will I Still Have a Slight Scar After Scar Revision Surgery?
Because scar revision surgery involves incisions made around the initial scar, there is likely to be a secondary scar after this procedure. However, clinical evidence suggests that the scars that develop after revision surgery are typically much cleaner and less noticeable than those that have been repaired.
Are There Any Risks to Revision Scar Treatment?
Scar revision treatments are generally quite safe and effective. Procedures performed under local anesthesia do not have the normal risks associated with general surgical anesthesia. There is a low risk of post-treatment pain, infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. Full disclosure of risks associated with scar revision can be expected during the consultation for care based on the recommended technique.
Recovery After Scar Revision Surgery
Patients are able to return home shortly after their surgical procedure and are encouraged to take the remainder of the day to rest. Strenuous activity should be postponed for several weeks after surgical scar revision to allow the body to heal optimally. Patients may be prescribed pain medication to aid in comfort for a few days after surgery, but pain may be well managed with over-the-counter medication.
As soon as the dressing is removed, patients can expect to see an improved scar. Final results from scar revision typically become apparent over several months as tissue continues to mature and heal. During the healing phase, it is critical that patients follow the post-operative care instructions provided to them by our staff. We are also available to answer questions that arise and to check the progress of scar healing on a periodic basis. In some instances, complementary treatments such as laser treatment, chemical peels, or topical solutions may be recommended to promote optimal results.