Types of Facial Scars | How to Treat Them

The skin is the largest organ in the body and one of the most seamless. Any injury, trauma, or burn can leave an ugly disfigurement behind. A small scar might not be a big deal especially if no one can see it. However, if it is on the face, everyone can see, and that is why most people try to conceal it. People are constantly looking for ways to improve if not to completely conceal such scars. Although a scar is unlikely to disappear totally, there are numerous methods that can help a person reduce its appearance and size.

As the skin undergoes the recovery process from an injury that could be caused by an accident, acne, surgery, or burn, there is always the risk of scarring if multiple layers are involved. Once this happens, the victim will be left with the blemish for life, although it can be made less visible or surgically relocated. Some common scars include:

Keloid Scars

These are usually brought about by an aggressive healing process. They go beyond the initial injury. If left for long, a keloid scar may prevent movement. Its treatments include surgical removal, silicone sheets that are used to flatten it, or steroid injections. If the keloid scar is small, it can be treated by cryotherapy, which involves freezing it with liquid nitrogen. To avoid the formation of keloid scars, patients can use pressure treatment or silicone gel pads after injuries. These scars are common with dark-colored people.

Hypertrophic Scars

These look similar to keloids and are usually red and elevated. The only difference between them and keloids is that they rarely go beyond the original injuries. They can be treated with steroid injections, which help in reducing their swelling or by using silicone sheets to make them flat.

Contracture Scars

In case your skin suffers a burn, it will end up getting a contracture scar. Such scars tighten the skin, making movement difficult. Another problem with these kinds of scars is that sometimes they go deep and affect the nerves and muscles.

Acne Scars

Anyone who has suffered from severe acne has scars to show for it. There are numerous acne scar types that range from deep pits to those that look like waves. The treatment options depend on what type of a scar a patient has.

Who is Eligible for Surgical Scar Treatment?

What patients seek when going for surgical scar treatments is to hide the blemishes, minimize their prominence, or relocate them to other less visible spots. The surgeon is usually ready to discuss important factors with the patient during the first visit. These include:

• The skin type and color
• Personal healing rates
• Their ethnic background
• Age

Every scar responds uniquely to different plastic surgery techniques. If you are looking forward to having a facial scar revision, understand that there is no sure way of eradicating cicatrices.

Also, time the surgery appropriately. Some surgeons will advise you not to go for a revision if the injury has been present for up to a year. This is because that period is enough to allow the body to heal fully.

If you decide to go for scar treatment, there are different things to expect, including the following:

 Your scar will be examined by the surgeon to decide the ideal treatment. 
 He will also discuss with you what to expect from the scar revision surgery.

There will be an agreement between you and the surgeon that details how you will proceed to have a successful operation. Once both of you have agreed to go ahead with the revision surgery, you will be informed about:

• Anesthesia
• Available supportive surgery options
• The surgical facility
• Costs

Since scars are very individualistic and every patient has a personal attitude towards them. Sometimes, multiple procedures are required to make a maximum improvement. The surgeon might be forced to use different techniques.

Understanding Scar Revision Procedure

It is important to remember that each patient has their own needs when it comes to this kind of surgery. However, there are some things that every patient must understand.

• If you have a contracture scar, surgery will involve the complete removal of the tissue.

• A skin flap with healthy and unscarred skin is usually lifted and moved by the surgeon to create a new incision line.

• If it is not possible to use a flap, the surgeon has to use a skin graft. This involves using skin tissue from one area and attaching it to another. The patient has to give the scar enough time to allow blood vessels and soft tissues to establish after the surgery.

Z-plasty is a method that surgeons use to move the scar from a single spot to another. This is usually done by transforming them into a natural skin crease or fold thus, making it less visible. Although this method rarely makes the scar invisible, it makes it less prominent.

Laser resurfacing and dermabrasion methods involve the surgeon making otherwise rough and elevated scars less noticeable by getting rid of some part of the upper skin layers. This is done by laser light or abrading tools. Although the scar will still be there, it will be smoother and thus, less visible.

Hypertrophic and keloid scars are initially treated using steroid injections to make them smaller. If the patient doesn’t find this satisfactory, they can get them removed surgically with the incisions getting closed using fine stitches. The results are less visible scars.

Excision - in case you have small deep scars as a result of chicken pox or acne, the best way to treat them is through excision. In this method, the surgeon treats the scar by excising it entirely and stitching the defects the same way moles are removed. The procedure creates a short, linear scar that can be concealed easily. The scar is also less prominent.

In case the scar impairs function, surgery can help address the problem. However, if the scars are as a result of recent surgery, you will be advised to wait for at least 24 months before going for their treatment. Over time, many scars will slowly go away and become less visible.
Dr. Philip Schoenfeld is the founder of Renu Artful Medicine, a facility that deals with facial plastic surgery including scar revision in Washington DC. Using various transformational products, he always strives to meet each patient’s needs. Patients are happy to get comprehensive aesthetic services from his team of professionals who are all certified.

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