A scar cannot be removed but it is often possible to make it appear less obvious. This is called scar ‘revision’. Scar revision can be achieved by a surgical procedure that is designed to make a scar thinner, less ‘indented’ or to change its direction.
Surgical scar revision can change the width of a scar, raise a depressed scar or lower an elevated scar. Scar revision improves the appearance of a scar leaving another –less visible – scar in its place. A red scar will usually fade to a white line over a period of six to eighteen months.
Every scar is different dependant on the part of the body and quality of the skin as well as the cause of the scar, for example, a cut or a burn. Each scar requires an individual approach, and a consultation with Prof. Kirwan will determine the most appropriate way get the best result.
Many methods of scar revision can be done in the office using local anesthesia alone. More extensive scars may require a general anesthetic and out-patient surgery at the hospital. Scar revisions of Caesarean Section scars can be combined with a tummy-tuck. Breast scars may be removed as part of a breast reduction or a breast lift.
Surgical Scar Removal
With surgical scar revision, a scar is removed and the surrounding healthy skin is repaired in layers so as to prevent a depression at the site of the join. Wide scars can often be excised and closed resulting in a narrower, less visible scar.
A straight scar may be converted into a zigzag or ‘Z’ configuration whose limbs fall into the natural skin creases which make it heal better and appear less visible (rather than a straight incision line). Surgical scar removal works best on scars that are mature, prominent, or have healed in a particular direction which cross the natural skin wrinkle lines rather than lying parallel to the skin tension lines known as Langer’s lines. Optimal results occur when a scar is removed and wound edges are joined without tension in layers using different types of suture material for each individual layer. The timing of removal of stitches and the method of stitching can also optimize the scar. ‘Cross-hatching’ or ‘rail-road tracks’ are prevented by using a single stitch under the skin or by removing stitches in the first two to five days after surgery.
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