Scars can have a profound impact on your life, not only because of how you acquired them - perhaps through trauma or surgery - but also because of the changes they make to your appearance.
Many people still believe that scars are permanent and that there’s little they can do once these scars become a part of their identity, especially when they result from previous surgeries. However, this is not the case. Scar correction surgery can often work wonders, reducing the size, smoothing the texture, and minimizing the visibility of scars.
Scar correction can also be beneficial in cases where the skin has healed in a way that restricts movement or causes discomfort, as well as for reducing burns and deep acne scars.
Dr. Kai Kaye, Director of Ocean Clinic Group, is a specialist in scar revision, having received training in this field at the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department at the University of Aachen in Germany.
So, what causes unsightly scarring, and what can be done to correct it?
Duration of surgery:20 – 90 minutes
Anaesthesia:Local / sedation / general
Discharge from clinic:Same day
Fit for society:1-2 days
Back to work:Usually the next day
Aftercare and recovery:Special scar treatments
Scarring can take a turn for the worse for several reasons. Factors that influence how well you heal include:
Beyond normal fine-line scars, there are four different types of scars that may result in less-than-optimal healing outcomes:
Keloid Scars - These are raised, often red scars that extend beyond the boundaries of the original wound. They are caused by an overgrowth of tissue due to excessive collagen production at the wound site. Keloid scars can be itchy, painful, and restrictive if they form near a joint.
Hypertrophic Scars - Like keloid scars, hypertrophic scars are raised, but they do not extend beyond the original wound’s boundaries. They result from collagen imbalance at the wound site and may continue to thicken for up to six months before gradually improving over several years.
Atrophic Scars - These are pitted or sunken scars caused by severe acne, chickenpox, or injury that leads to a loss of underlying fat. Atrophic scars remain within the original wound’s boundaries and often appear on the face or back.
Scar Contractures - These tight scars develop on joints, often due to burns, causing the skin to "shrink" and restrict joint movement.
A ‘good’ scar is one that fades into a barely noticeable fine line that blends with the surrounding skin tone. Proper placement is crucial to minimize tension on the scar. Whenever possible, scars should be hidden in natural skin folds, such as beneath the breast or in the groin.
Experienced surgeons can influence results through meticulous techniques, using dissolvable sutures or glue, and removing other stitches early to avoid stitch marks. Proper aftercare, including the use of silicone sheets, ensures the best outcomes.
If you want to improve the appearance of a particularly troublesome scar that’s affecting you either aesthetically or physically, there are surgical and non-surgical treatments available. In most cases, a combination of these methods yields the best results.
Despite quite some time passing, I never really got used to my scars. They are not gone completely, but they look different and are way better now.
Scar Excision - This involves cutting out the existing scar and resealing the wound using various techniques, depending on the scar type.
Tissue Expansion - This procedure promotes the growth of healthy supplementary skin to replace damaged skin. It entails placing a balloon-like expander under the skin near the damaged area, filling it over time with saline solution to stretch and grow new skin.
Skin Flaps - Skin flaps are healthy skin and tissue partially detached and moved to cover a nearby wound. They are often used in burn injury cases and require the surgical reconnection of blood vessels in some instances.
Skin Graft - This involves removing skin from one body area and transferring it (without its blood supply) to another. It’s used to cover wounds, with "split-thickness" grafts for large areas and "full-thickness" grafts for smaller, more visible areas.
Fat Graft - Fat grafting extracts fat from one body area and uses it to restore volume under depressed or adherent scars, leading to skin regeneration.
Steroid Injections - Effective for keloid and hypertrophic scars, steroids are injected directly into the scar tissue to reduce itching, redness, and burning sensations, as well as to decrease scar size and soften the tissue.
Laser Resurfacing - High-energy light is used to remove damaged skin, smooth scar surfaces, eliminate abnormal coloration, and flatten scars.
Dermabrasion - This procedure involves removing the top skin layers with an electrical device, resulting in smoother skin as it heals.
Chemical Peels - Chemical peels resurface the skin by applying a chemical solution to dissolve the top skin layer, prompting skin regeneration and improving superficial and color irregularities.
Microneedling - Tiny needles create micro-injuries in scar tissue, stimulating the body’s natural healing process, collagen production, and scar texture improvement.
Ultrasound Treatment - Ultherapy, an ultrasound treatment, promotes collagen and elastin production by heating the skin’s layers, enhancing scar appearance.
Hyaluronic Acid Filler - Used to fill atrophic scars, this injectable filler can add volume, smooth the scar surface, and improve discoloration.
In most cases, scar correction treatments are outpatient procedures with minimal downtime. Overnight stays at the clinic are necessary only for extensive skin grafting.
To achieve the best results, advanced scar care dressings are provided as part of all scar correction treatments. Silicone sheets and patches play a crucial role in softening scars and reducing redness.
Compression garments are also offered for the treated area to apply pressure to the scar. This is particularly beneficial for burn scars and may be used continuously for several months to prevent the scar from elevating above the surrounding skin and to reduce itching, redness, and swelling.
If you would like to learn more about improving the appearance of your scar, please contact Ocean Clinic to schedule a consultation.