Any time there is an incision or cut in the skin, there will be a scar. But many variables can affect the severity of scarring, including the size and depth of the wound, the thickness and color of ones skin, the direction of the scar, location, and the blood supply of the area. While early care and closure in the emergency room is highly important, permanent scarring that results can be difficult to live with and leave one feeling self conscious about their facial appearance. Patients typically seek revision when a scar is wide, red, raised, sunken, or is distorting certain parts of their face, such as the eyes or lips.
Such scars typically result from accidents, burns and injuries but can also come from acne or certain surgical procedures. As dual board-certified facial plastic surgeons, Drs. Henstrom and Thompson are both highly experienced with scar revision in all skin types. By employing an individualized approach to treatment, our surgeons can dramatically improve the appearance of scarring and provide you with an increased level of self-confidence.
Is scar revision treatment right for you?
It’s important to visit at one of our Utah locations with Drs. Thompson or Henstrom during a complimentary consultation to discuss your concerns and determine whether or not you are a good candidate for scar revision treatment. Your surgeon will perform a thorough examination and review your medical history at that time as well. He will then discuss possible treatment options for scar revision that will best help you achieve the best outcome possible.
It’s important to remember that it’s typically best to wait at least one year from the date of injury to allow the body enough time to heal. That is when our surgeons can best determine treatment options for revision and provide realistic expectations.
What treatments are available for scar revision?
Different types of scars respond to different treatments. Keloid scars result from the overproduction of collagen and tend to grow beyond the edges of the wound or incision. Hypertrophic scars, on the other hand, do not grow beyond the edges of the would but are thick, raised, and may also restrict certain facial expressions.
Both hypertrophic and keloid scars can often be treated with steroid injections alone. The process may take up to a year with a series of injections during that time frame. If they do not heal on their own through steroid injections, our surgeons will often remove the excess scar tissue surgically and may reposition the incision so it heals in a less noticeable pattern. This is typically done in-office under local anesthetic and is considered a minor outpatient procedure. You may also receive steroid injections during surgery and post surgery in certain intervals for up to two years following initial treatment. This will help prevent the scar from reforming, though keloids have a tendency to recur and may even come back larger in size.
There are many other techniques our surgeons employ for various facial scars. including z-plasty, which is essentially moving the scar from one area to another, usually in a natural fold or crease, to make it less visible. Skin graft or flap surgery involves taking healthy skin adjacent to the wound, or from an entirely different part of the body, and covering the injured area. Surgery is successful when new blood vessels and scar tissue form in the injured area.
Dermabrasion, skin rejuvenation, and/or our fractional CO2 laser are all ablative techniques that work to reduce the visibility of scars by resurfacing the area and make “rough or elevated” scars less prominent. Such techniques work very well for acne scarring among other types of scars.
Also beneficial for acne scars is Bellafill®, an injectable that adds volume under the skin to lift and smooth out pitted acne scars to the level of the surrounding skin. Other hyaluronic acid fillers, such as Restylane, may be used to fill facial scars as well.
Because scars are highly individualistic, more than one procedure and/or technique may be employed to provide maximum improvement. Recovery time will vary depending on your treatment plan and can be further discussed at your initial consultation with one of our surgeons.