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What is scar revision?
Scars develop when multiple layers of skin have been injured, for example by surgery, acne or an accident. The skin has ‘relaxed tension lines’ which develop as a result of underlying muscle activity, and when a cut or injury runs across these lines, the wound will be distorted whenever the underlying muscle moves. Muscle activity can have more negative effects on scar formation when the scar runs at an angle in relation to the relaxed tension lines. Conversely, if a cut is in line with the relaxed skin tension lines, it is known as favorable and will tend to heal more successfully from a cosmetic perspective.
Scar revision is a term for a range of treatments that are used to make a scar less noticeable on your skin. It is possible to surgically alter a scar to make it less visible and/or move it to a less obvious location
What happens during scar revision?
The best way to treat a scar is to prevent it forming in the first place.
One effective method for reducing scar formation is to inject the muscles surrounding the wound with botulinum toxin (botox), which paralyses the muscles for approximately 2 months allowing the wound to heal without being disturbed by movement of the muscles.
If you are prone to forming particularly wide scars, known as hypertrophic scars, then it may be beneficial to inject a steroid into the scar during the first few weeks of healing, followed by repeated injections every 1-2 weeks.
If the scar already exists, the following options can be considered:
- Polishing with a laser or diamond burr – this is particularly useful for uneven or elevated scars.
- Excision of wides scars in order to replace them with finer scars.
- Straight scars may be cut at a number of angles according to the ‘broken line’ technique, when creating a new scar, as irregular scars are less visible
- Very wide scars, e.g. burns, can be removed in pieces using serial excisions and possibly combined with skin expansion, where a balloon is temporarily inserted into the adjacent skin to stretch it such that there is then enough skin to cover the previous scar.
- Advanced surgical techniques including various flaps, may be used for more complex and larger scars.
What is recovery like after scar revision?
After a scar revision procedure, the wound will be covered with an air- and water-tight dressing (occlusive dressing) or an ointment to keep it moist and any stitches or sutures will usually be removed within 5-7 days. Sun exposure to the wound should be strictly limited for at least 6 months.
You surgeon will schedule regular follow up appointments to check on the healing process and ascertain whether any additional treatments are required.
To ask a question about Scar Revision at OneWelbeck or to book an appointment, contact our team today. We are available from Monday to Friday: 8am – 8pm.