A scar is a permanent reminder of trauma to the skin. A scar can be caused by a number of injuries, from cuts and burns to blisters from chickenpox. Scars and scar tissue can affect people in different ways. For many, the presence of a scar is constant source of embarrassment that robs them of self-confidence. Fortunately, scar revision and scar removal procedures can reduce the undesirable appearance of scars and restore a person’s self-assurance in social and professional settings.
SCAR REVISION AND REMOVAL OPTIONS
A number of cosmetic/plastic surgical procedures are available to reduce the appearance of scarring. They vary in their invasiveness, that is, some procedures take place at or near the surface of the skin while others require true surgical procedures.
The least invasive scar revision procedure is laser resurfacing. In fact, laser resurfacing is a non-invasive procedure in which scar tissue is treated with focused light energy (i.e. laser). Laser resurfacing can destroy scar tissue and stimulate skin cells to produce collagen and important substances.
Injections are slightly more invasive. People with hypertrophic or keloid scars may benefit from steroid injections into the scar itself. When scar tissue forms a depression in the skin, injectable dermal fillers can provide additional volume, smoothing out depressed areas. Injectable fillers are best for scars due to cuts, wither from traumatic injury or previous surgical incisions.
Various depths of skin can be removed, taking away the scar and allowing new skin to take its place. Chemical peels are the least invasive, usually, and dissolve the top layer(s) of skin. Chemical peels are best for mild scarring caused by acne or slightly elevated scar tissue. Dermabrasion is also used to treat superficial scars, (microdermabrasion is more appropriate for getting rid of age spots and skin discolorations). In dermabrasion, the outer layer of skin is rubbed off with an abrasive instrument. Dermabrasion is used to treat scar tissue, wrinkles, and stretch marks. Dermaplaning is the most invasive of the skin removing procedures. In dermaplaning, a special cutting tool called a dermatome is used to shave off keloid or hypertrophic scar tissue. Dermaplaning is not appropriate for depressed scar—it is used to remove raised scar tissue only.
Scar revision surgery
Scar revision surgery is used to treat very deep scars or scars that cover large areas of skin. When a scar is near a natural line in the skin, such as a skin crease or a hairline, Z-plasty may be used to reposition the scar to make it virtually invisible. When the scar is on the abdomen, for example, Z-plasty may be combined with a tummy tuck procedure to remove unwanted skin as well. Lastly, skin grafts are used to replace large areas of damaged skin. Skin grafts are usually reserved for burn patients. In a skin grafting procedure, healthy skin is taken from one area and used to replace the scar tissue.
A FOCUS ON LASER RESURFACING
Because laser resurfacing is non-invasive, virtually painless, and provides excellent results for select patients, it has become the premier method for scar revision and removal. Laser resurfacing is safe, fast, and can be used to remove a variety of scar types.
Nuance Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery uses the Cynosure Palomar Icon system. The Icon Aesthetic System provides unparalleled scar treatment capacity, combined a powerful laser source with safe, specialized treatment handpieces.