After your skin suffers an injury like an accident or surgery, scar tissue forms. The amount of scar tissue that forms depends on your age, the color of your skin (pigmentation), and the size, location and depth of the wound. When scarring happens, many turn to scar revision surgery as a way to reduce the appearance of scars.

Scar revision can be performed for a number of reasons, including when a scar:

  • Is angled against the normal tension lines of the skin
  • Is thickened
  • Causes distortion of other features or impedes with normal movement
  • Is abnormal (as in a keloid scar), which is thicker and differs in thickness, color and texture from the rest of the skin. Keloids go beyond the edge of the sound and often take on a thick, puckered appearance.

Improving the appearance of scars can be done in a number of ways:

  • Complete removal. In some cases, the scar may be removed altogether and the new wound is carefully closed.
  • This procedure involves removing the skin’s upper layers with a burr or fraise (a type of wire brush.) This causes new skin to grow over the area and for the surface of the skin to soften.
  • Large injuries like burns, for example, can cause skin loss in the affected area and lead to the development of hypertrophic scars which can impede movement of tendons, joints and muscles. To remove the extra scar tissues, sometimes surgery is required. Calles Z-plasty, this surgery involves making small incisions on both sides of the scar to create V-shaped skin flaps. This results in a thin, less conspicuous scar that follows the natural skin folds more closely.
  • Skin grafting.This technique takes a thin layer of skin from one part of the body and grafts it over the scarred area. Skin grafting is used for a number of reasons: 1) when a large area of skin has been lost, when a thin scar won’t heal, and when it improves function.

It isn’t always clear when scar revision is the best option. Over time, scars tend to shrink and become lighter in color. This can take several months to a year. For this reason, it may be best to wait a good amount of time before deciding to have scar revision surgery. Since each scar is different, talk to your doctor about the option and timing that’s right for you.

To learn more about scars and scar revision, please contact John J.W. Lee, MD, FACS online or by calling 610.789.6701 to schedule a consultation with our experienced cosmetic surgeon.