Scar Removal in Houston TX
WHAT TO EXPECT
When to Consider Scar Revision
No procedure can eliminate scarring completely, but scar revision can significantly fade or reduce a scar by injecting or applying steroid medications, or by performing scar revision surgery. Doctors generally recommend waiting for a period of one year or more after injury or surgery to consider scar revision, because in many cases, scars may initially appear large and prominent, but over time may become far less noticeable. Some may be treated with steroids to alleviate soreness, tenderness, and itching. Not all scars will require revision surgery, so it is advisable to wait a year and see if your scar begins to fade on its own
There are different types of scars, and treatment may differ among them, depending on the size, depth, color, and location of the scar, as well as the patient’s skin type and overall skin health. The most common scars that we treat in our practice include the following:
- Acne scars
- Chicken pox scars
- Hypertrophic scars
- Keloid scars
- Surgical scars
- Scars from prior accidents or injuries
Keloids are raised, thick, sometimes itchy, bands of scar tissue that develop outside the borders of a wound. Keloids are typically red or brown in color and appear much darker than the surrounding skin. These scars develop when the body continues to produce excess collagen beyond the amount required to heal a wound. While keloids can appear in any area of the body, they’re most commonly found on the shoulders, the collarbone and chest, the neck and throat region, and on the earlobes. Keloids may be hereditary, and tend to more often affect people with darker skin than those with lighter complexions.
Steroid injections delivered directly into the keloid may reduce redness, itching, and stinging in the keloid, and may also effectively reduce the appearance or prominence of the scar in some patients.
While the propensity for developing keloids decreases as we age because the body naturally produces less collagen, keloids tend to recur, and in some cases may grow larger and darker than they were originally. To prevent this, scar revision surgery may be combined with steroid shots or radiation therapy. You may also be instructed to cover the area with a protective pressure garment for a period of about a year. Yet, even with all of these precautions, it is still possible for keloids to recur every few years, requiring follow-up treatment.
Hypertrophic scars are similar to keloids, as both may appear as raised lesions that are thick, hard, and red. The difference is that hypertrophic scars grow exclusively inside the edges of the original wound. Hypertrophic scars may improve on their own in many cases after a period of about a year, or they may be treated with steroid medications.
If steroid treatments don’t diminish the scar sufficiently, surgical scar revision may be considered. Revision surgery involves the surgically removing some of the scar tissue, and in some cases changing the position of the incision or wound to provide less visibility. Depending on the location and size of the scar, revision surgery may be performed using local or general anesthesia. Surgical scar revision may be combined with steroid injections administered during the surgery and continued at regular intervals for a period of as long as two years after surgery to discourage the scar from growing back.
Burns or other surface injuries that damage a wide area of skin surface typically produce scars that contract the skin, and are known as contractures. The typical treatment for a contracture normally involves surgically removing of the scar and applying a skin graft or a flap over the area.
In some cases, a procedure known as Z-plasty may be used to effectively treat contractures. Z-plasty reshapes the scar into the shape of a Z so that it may be more effectively camouflaged in the skin’s natural lines and creases. This treatment may also alleviate the tension caused by a contracture as it pulls on neighboring skin tissue. Not all scars are suitable for Z-plasty treatment, however, and other techniques may turn out to be more effective.
Treating Facial Scars
Facial scars are most often treated as a cosmetic concern, regardless of what type of scar it is. There are several treatments that can make a facial scar less visible. The scar may simply be removed surgically using miniscule sutures, leaving a subtler, less noticeable scar in place of the original. If the scar naturally conforms to the skin’s natural creases, it may be repositioned so that it appears parallel with these lines, making it less noticeable. Some facial scars may be softened through the process of dermabrasion, a treatment that gently scrapes away the surface layers of the skin. While dermabrasion may help the scar become less pronounced, imparting a smoother surface to the skin as well as a more even skin tone, it will not completely eliminate the scar.
What to Expect After Scar Revision Surgery
Dr. Bachilo will provide detailed instructions for post-operative care that you must follow after surgery to ensure optimal healing. Although you may not require much downtime after your surgery, Dr. Bachilo will advise you as to a reasonable timeline for resuming your normal activities.
Bear in mind that no scar can be erased completely, and the success of your scar revision treatment will be affected by such factors as the size and direction of your scar, your skin type, and how well you adhere to proper post-operative care directions. If your scar initially appears to look worse after surgery, don’t panic: the final results of your surgery may take as long as a year to fully develop.
Ready to Schedule?
There’s no need to live with unsightly or uncomfortable scars. Contact Glamour Plastic Surgery and Med Spa today to learn more about scar revision treatments provided at our facility for residents of Houston and neighboring communities in Texas.