Every time our skin is cut or damaged, we are left with a scar, which is the result of how our body heals itself. Scar revision surgery aims to improve the aesthetic appearance of a scar but can also help to alleviate scars that continue to be painful or restrict movement even when healed.
When the skin has been injured, whether as a result of surgery, a burn or an accident, the body’s natural healing response is to produce fibrous scar tissue. This will look very different to the surrounding skin, in both colour and texture, and although this scar tissue will usually flatten and fade over time, it will likely always remain conspicuous.
Unfortunately, there’s no way of predicting exactly how a scar will heal and, in some instances, the scar will grow larger than the initial wound, appearing red, raised and shiny. This is known as keloid scarring.
Scar revision surgery cannot remove a scar entirely – in effect, you’re replacing one scar with another – but it can greatly improve the appearance of the damaged area. This can be achieved by excising the scar tissue and superior stitching of the new incision. Your surgeon may also reorient the scar so it is less visible or change its direction, so it is better aligned with the tension lines in the skin.
At Karidis Clinic, we also have a comprehensive range of non-surgical treatments that can be used in conjunction with scar revision surgery or as standalone treatments to reduce scarring.
FAQs for Scar Revision Surgery
Every scar revision patient is unique as scars vary greatly in their severity and positioning, so each case will need to be assessed in depth during your consultation. Our plastic surgeon will assess your existing scar, in terms of its location, size, presentation, as well as your skin quality.
Scar revision surgery can be performed under general or local anaesthetic depending on the extent of the procedure required. Whichever anaesthetic is used, it will typically be performed as a day case procedure, so you’ll be able to return home the same day.
You should be able to return to work within a week, but you’ll be advised to avoid any strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for up to a month as your new scar is healing.
Depending on the individual, the extent of the new scar and where it is positioned, the scar healing process can take between a few months to up to two years before the scar finally matures.
The thickness of the skin is a key factor; incisions made into thinner, more delicate skin, such as around the eyes, heals much faster than in thicker skin on the body.
Hypertrophic scars are essentially overgrown scars because the body hasn’t recognised when to stop the scarring process. They can be the result of a lot of tension on the healing area, and appear raised, thicker and wider than a normal scar. They can also be itchy and painful.
Hypertrophic scars are limited to the margins of the damaged skin area unlike keloid scars.
A keloid is a type of scar that grows larger than the initial wound and are the result of an overproduction of collagen. They can develop soon after the initial injury or even months or years later. The precise reason why they form isn’t clear, although darker-skinned individuals are more susceptible to developing them. They can form on any part of the body, but the chest, shoulders and upper back are especially prone.
Hypertrophic scarring can be greatly improved with scar revision surgery, but it may not be suitable for keloids as they may just reoccur. Steroid injections either into the initial keloid scar or after scar revision surgery may be advised.
All operations carry risks, although potential complications are typically minimal after scar revision surgery. Although the aim of the surgery is to achieve an improved scar, there is still the risk of problematic scarring as a result.