What is scar revision?
This is a type of surgery that helps minimize the appearance of scars on a person’s skin. Scar revision surgery helps treat disfigurement of the skin that may have resulted from previous surgeries or an injury on the skin. It also helps improve the functionality of the scarred area.
When a scar revision surgery has been performed successfully, it results in an improved appearance of the scarred area which impacts positively on the patient’s life. Different scar revision techniques are used to treat different kinds of scarring; scar revision can also be combined with other scar treatment therapies to obtain even better results.
Should I go for scar revision surgery?
Deciding to undergo this procedure is a personal choice and you should not do it just to make another person happy. This procedure can be done on a person of any age group. You can decide to go for this treatment if;
- There is a scar on your body that is bothering or brings discomfort to you.
- The area to be treated has properly healed and does not have any kind of skin disease affecting the area.
- Your health is okay and you have set realistic, clear and precise goals concerning the scar revision surgery.
Examples of scars that can be treated using this scar revision procedure;
Hypertrophic scars: this type of scarring is localized to the injured area where the healing process is taking place. It is caused by increased production of collagen by the skin tissues. They appear as lumps on the affected area and may cause some form of discomfort. Hypertrophic scars can be;
A- Hypo pigmented – this is when the scar appears lighter in color compared to the surrounding skin.
B- Hyper pigmented – the scarred area appears darker compared to the surrounding skin.
C- Keloid scars: they are also caused by excessive production of collagen. But unlike hypertrophic type of scarring, they normally spread beyond the scarred area and they are larger in size. They can affect any part of the body, but they mostly affect parts having fatty tissues. In some cases, they are characterized by an itching sensation or pain.
D- Contracture scars: this type of scarring is caused by loss of tissue on the skin. Burns can lead to this type of scarring. Due to this loss of tissue, contracture scars result in restricted motion at the affected area.
Scar revision can also be used to treat other forms of minor scarring that may not be necessarily characterized by pain or discomfort. For example acne scars or scars caused by minor injuries.
Once the type of scarring has been correctly identified the surgeon will determine which technique will be good for your condition.
Step by step review of the scar revision surgery
1. Administering anesthesia to the patient. This is done to eliminate any discomfort or pain that may you may experience during the surgical procedure. Intravenous sedation, local and general anesthesias are some of the options that the doctor may decide to use for this purpose.
2. Treatment: during this stage the surgeon will determine which technique is appropriate for you and perform it. The outcome will depend on the severity of scarring and the expertise of the surgeon performing the procedure. For some types of scarring the surgeon may advise you to undergo other treatments to reap maximum benefits of this procedure. Other kinds of treatments that may be recommended are;
Topical skin treatments; this includes the use of gels, or compression wrappings to facilitate the healing process and prevent formation of irregular pigments or discolorations at the affected area.
Treatments involving the use of inject able substances; Steroids are one of the main substances used in this treatment to help slow down production of collagen which is responsible for the formation of certain types of scars. This treatment is usually done repeatedly to achieve best results.
Surface treatment procedures These treatments are generally done to improve the appearance of the affected area. They help reduce irregularities on the skin and give a smooth texture to the area. Examples of surface treatments include; chemical peeling, dermabrasion and laser therapy.
3. For the deep forms of scarring, the surgeon may be required to make cuts or incisions to enable the removal of the scar.
4. This step involves closing the incisions made during the procedure. One method that is used in closing these incisions is the complex flap closure technique. This technique allows for repositioning of the scar and helps restore flexibility in the case of a contracture scar. During this stage tissue expansion or skin grafting may be done if deemed necessary.
Finally, scar revision comes with its own set of risks like infection of the treated area. Therefore, before doing a scar revision, you should do enough consultation with the surgeon doing the procedure to understand the risks and benefits involved in scar revision. Taking proper care of the area after doing a scar revision is also an important step in scar removal and will promote faster healing of the area.
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