Scar revision procedures are surgical and nonsurgical treatments designed to improve the appearance of almost any type of scar (surgical scars, traumatic scars, lacerations, burn scars, keloid scars, and hypertrophic scars).
We know for sure is that your genetics play a huge role in the appearance of scars, but there are several professional treatments that can improve their healing potential if your genetics are not favorable for ideal scar formation. Darker skinned individuals usually have less ideal scar appearances, and more commonly have to deal with issues like keloids and scar hypertrophy (widening of the scar). Scar treatments are so important to us here at MAS that we automatically enroll all of our surgical patients in our Scar Management Program beginning about 6 weeks after their surgical procedures like Breast Augmentation and Abdominoplasty.
Dr. Nicholas Vendemia performs scar revision procedures for the face and body in women and men in the New York metro area. He is a leading cosmetic surgeon in New York City with a reputation for custom care and beautiful results. Feel free to give us a call at 917-703-7069 to schedule a personal consultation, or send us a message by clicking here.
Scar revision procedures can fix the following types of scars in men and women:
- Unattractive surgical scars from cosmetic and non-cosmetic procedures like breast augmentation, breast lift, tummy tuck, orthopedic, C-sections, and abdominal surgery.
- Keloid scars anywhere on the body
- Traumatic scars from accidents and injuries
- Facial lacerations repaired poorly in the emergency room
- Scars from flame, steam, or oil burns
- Scars and hyperpigmentation from laser treatments like laser hair removal
What are the most common scar revision treatment options?
- Silicone Therapy
Silicone scar therapy is widely used in the treatment of surgical and burn scars, and is one of most effective ways to prevent both keloids and hypertrophic scar formation, both of which are more common in scars from burns, scars over joints, and scars in darker skin types. Many plastic surgeons also use specially designed silicone sheets to improve the appearance of the scars after breast augmentation, breast lift, and abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery. In our practice, we routinely start silicone therapy on the very first day after cosmetic surgery. No one knows for sure why silicone therapy works, but the leading theories suggest that a combination of hydration and compression play key roles in the success of silicone strips and sheets.
- Laser Scar Therapy
Non-ablative, fractional laser treatments can help red and pink scars blend into the surrounding skin, and most patients require 3-5 treatments for an ideal result. The treatments themselves take less than 10 minutes, and there is no downtime. In addition to silicone therapy starting on Day 1, we routinely start our cosmetic surgical patients on laser scar treatments at approximately 6 weeks after their procedures, and it really helps scars fade more quickly for the nicest looking scar possible.
For scars that are much lighter in color than the surrounding skin (hypopigmented), which is a common appearance with burn scars from laser hair removal, micropigmentation might be the only option. Micropigmentation is essentially medical-grade tattooing performed by medical micropigmentation specialists. Careful and precisely matched pigments are placed into the scar to match the surrounding skin and make it less visible. Micropigmentation is also a very common technique for nipple areola reconstruction after breast cancer surgery.
- Surgical Scar Revision
For most patients, a combination of silicone sheet therapy and a series of laser treatments are enough to give a satisfactory appearance to their scars, but these treatments are only effective if the scars are treated early (within 2 years of the initial surgery or injury). For older scars, surgical scar revision might be the only option. During a scar revision procedure, your plastic surgeon will remove the visible scar from the skin, and also remove the scar tissue underneath the skin. After all the scar is removed, the incision will be closed meticulously with specially-designed suture materials that lead to a minimal amount of inflammation, which leads to more favorable scars. Most surgical scar revisions can be done in the office under local anesthesia, and most patients can return to work the same day. We would then start silicone therapy within a week after the scar revision procedure, and laser scar therapy starting at 6 weeks, just as we do for our cosmetic surgery patients. This is the most interesting part about surgical scar revisions… they turn old scars into new scars that respond much better to the nonsurgical treatments.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E is one of the most commonly used scar treatments, but probably not the best. There is no sound evidence that Vitamin E makes any difference in the appearance of scars, but it does lead to frequent allergic skin reactions that may actually worsen the appearance of your scar, or in the worst cases can create new scarring or hyperpigmentation. Our advice… don’t use it. It probably won’t help, and it may actually end up hurting your efforts to improve the appearance of your scar.
How important is sunscreen for scars?
It is CRITICAL to always, always, always use sunscreen on your scars for the first 12 months after surgery or injury. Sun exposure is one of the leading causes of scar hyperpigmentation (darkening), which could be permanent. The best sunscreens for scars contain zinc oxide, which blocks UVA and UVB rays. If you have trouble finding a zinc-containing brand, use the heaviest sun protection you can find (Neutrogena makes SPF 100). And remember, the suns rays are strong enough to penetrate most clothing and bathing suits, so you should still apply sunscreen even if your scars are covered with clothing.