Scars are visible patches that develop as the wounds heal. They are a result of burns, injuries, or surgery. They appear in different size, shape, colour, and texture. Small scars can easily be hidden by makeup or covered under the clothes depending upon where it is located, but some scars cannot be hidden. A scar removal treatment may help in minimizing the appearance of such scars.
Scar removal treatment helps in improving the appearance of the scars present anywhere in the body. Various types of scars can be improved by scar removal surgery.
Types of scars:
There are several types of scars. They include the following:
Keloid scars: These are the thick, lumpy, irregular shaped scars that occur due to the aggressive healing. Keloid scars are large and grow beyond the original wound. This type of scar can occur at any part of the body but, is commonly seen on the upper chest, shoulders, head, and neck region.
Contracture scars: This type of scars occur after severe burns. These scars tighten the skin as it heals and impairs the ability to move. If these scars grow deeper, then they affect muscles and nerves.
Hypertrophic scars: These are the thickened, red scars that do not go beyond the wound site.
Acne scars: This type of scars have an angular or wavelike appearance. These scars are a result of moderate to severe acne.
Scar removal treatment can be performed in any person with the following conditions:
- Conscious of the scars in his/her body
- Physically fit
- Does not have active acne or other skin diseases in the area of treatment
PREPARATION BEFORE PROCEDURE
- Avoid smoking before the surgery
- Do not take aspirin, painkillers, and any herbal supplements before the surgery to prevent the risk of bleeding
- Avoid sun exposure for a long time
- Avoid using skincare products which contain glycolic acid or retinol
Based on the type, size, location, and severity of the scar, the doctor may recommend either a single or combination of following the type of scar removal treatment:
- Topical treatments: Application of certain type of gels, over-the-counter creams, or ointments that contain corticosteroids help in reducing the scars caused by surgeries, wounds, or injuries. It is also helpful in treating skin discolouration and surface scars.
- Injections: Injections are useful to flatten the protruding or raised scars, such as keloids or hypertrophic scars.
- Surgery: Surgery is performed to treat deeper scars. Excision, skin grafts, or tissue expansion are some surgical options for scar removal.
- Laser surgery: In this procedure, the skin surface is treated by laser light. Laser light makes some changes on the skin, allowing the formation of new and healthy skin at the scar site.
- Other treatment options: Other treatment options include dermabrasion (mechanical polishing of the skin), chemical peel solutions, and use of skin bleaching agents to remove the scars.
The doctor will administer either general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia and make an incision on the skin surface. The surgeon then uses surgical tools to remove the scar tissue. Once the scar tissue is removed, the surgeon will lift a flap of healthy, unscarred skin and place it over the new incision line. If the flap is not possible, then the surgeon will remove a healthy skin tissue from any other part of the body, and attach it over the scarred region. After placing the new skin, the incision is closed with sutures.
After a scar removal surgery, individuals may experience swelling, discomfort, or discolouration of the skin for a couple of weeks. Strictly follow post-procedure care instructions given by the doctor.
Some of the measures for post-procedure care are:
- Reduce physical activity for a few weeks
- Keep head raised while lying down
- Apply moist cloth or cold compresses to reduce swellings
For fast recovery, follow the below-given tips:
- Take enough rest
- Have a well-balanced diet
- Avoid alcohol or smoking
- Follow-up regularly to assess the healing
- Avoid exposure of scar to the sun
- Keep the incisions clean and dry
FACTORS AFFECTING COST
The cost of scar removal surgery depends on the type of treatment and the doctor’s fee. The cost of scar removal treatment can also include the hospital facility cost, anaesthesia fees, cost of prescribed medications, and medical tests.
Individuals who have undergone plastic surgery or any cosmetic surgery are advised to wait for at least one year before scar removal surgery.
In most of the cases, the doctor will use steroid injections or collagen injections for the removal of scars.
All surgical procedures come with their own risks and complications. Scar removal treatment also includes a few risks and complications:
- Delay in healing
- Skin sensitivity
- Complications of anaesthesia
- Long term pain
No, scar removal is an outpatient procedure, it does not require a hospital stay.
The use of scar removal cream that contains a corticosteroid may cause the following side effects:
- Mild burning sensation on the skin
- Change in skin colour
- Dryness of skin
- Cracked skin