Almost everybody has a scar on some part of their body. The composition of scars may vary.
Some may appear flat, colored, sunken, or lumpy. While some are itchy, others feel painful, and the final look of a scar also varies depending on several factors, including the age of a person, skin type, and type of injury.
It’s a reminder of an accident or a medical condition that cut or damaged your skin in the past. A scar is a visible proof that you survived it.
Since scars usually have different contours, consistencies, and appearances than your normal skin, you may find it necessary to undergo scar revision surgery. This surgery helps to improve a scar that healed poorly.
Most patients do it mainly to improve the appearance of their scars and gain their confidence back. However, before doing it, you need to ask this question: is scar revision surgery worth it?
This article talks about the following topics to help you know if scar revision surgery is worth it to you or not.
What Is Scar Revision Surgery?
A scar revision surgery is a procedure that doctors do on a scar to improve its appearance.
Although this type of plastic surgery can’t remove your scar altogether, it restores the function of that part of the body initially restricted by the scar. It also provides a better cosmetic result.
This procedure also corrects skin disfigurement from either a previous surgery, injury, or wound. You will also not feel your scar itching anymore after undergoing scar revision surgery.
Depending on the complexity of your scar, you may undergo this procedure fully awake in the doctor’s office under local, sedated, or general anesthesia. The procedure may take one to two hours to complete, depending on the severity of your scar.
Surgeons do this because scar revision surgery may hurt. You may feel pushing or pressure during surgery under local anesthesia, but not any sharp pain.
It’s really not clear when you should have scar revision surgery since scars shrink with time. You can wait several months to a year after your wound has healed for the scar to lighten up in color.
How You Should Prepare for Your First Appointment
Before undergoing scar revision surgery, you will first meet your surgeon for a consultation session. This session is necessary to understand the benefits and risks associated with this procedure.
The surgeon will ask you to provide some information before determining the right treatment option for you. You’ll be asked to provide:
- Your medical history
- Past and current health problems
- Allergies, if any
- Surgical history
- Medical history
The surgeon will also ask about your reasons for scar revision surgery, then provide a number of treatment options available for you. The best treatment option depends on the location and severity of your scar.
However, this will only happen after undergoing some medical tests to ensure that you’re physically and medically fit for the surgery.
The scar tissue will also be examined during the consultation session to determine its type and location.
Based on the results, your surgeon will then recommend the correct treatment technique that will minimize its appearance or ultimately relocate it.
YTat’s your first appointment. Before then, you should stop doing the following
- “Smoking, which will affect your healing process.
- Stop taking aspirin. It may increase bleeding during scar revision surgery.
This session will not end before the doctor explains the risks associated with scar revision surgery and the costs involved.
Available Treatment Options
After your scar examination, these are some treatment options the surgeon may recommend. Remember, it will depend on the scar’s type, size, location, and severity.
This treatment option is suitable for scars that are not that severe and appear on the skin’s surface. Tropical scar revision treatment helps reduce the appearance of your scars.
Your surgeon will recommend some types of tapes and gels to be applied on the discolored part. You can also use this option in the healing process after undergoing scar revision surgery.
The surface treatment reduces uneven pigmentation on your skin. This treatment option is used to remove your skin’s damaged outer layer to expose a new inner layer that looks smooth and young.
Also, this treatment softens skin irregularities. Surgeons usually apply this treatment option to treat several skin conditions besides scars, including acne, wrinkles, age spots, etc.
If your scars are deeper, then your surgeon may recommend surgical treatment. In this case, an incision happens to remove your old scars. Types of surgery include skin grafting, flap surgery, and Z-Plasty.
This treatment option is suitable for severe cases. These are wounds located in your skin’s deeper layers.
In this case, your doctor uses a subdermal closure technique to close up the layers, and eventually, your surface wound.
It’s common in treating hypertrophic or keloid scars. You’ll be injected with steroids to reduce the size of your scar.
How Much Patients Do Worry About Scars?
Most skin cancer patients usually don’t care about the scars they can get from undergoing skin cancer surgery, as long as the cancer is out.
However, that’s not always the case with every patient. Some are worried about their scars and cosmetic appearances, especially celebrity people and models.
Cases like squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are very common types of skin cancers, which, when detected early, are curable but might leave scars.
What Should Patients Expect from A Surgery Scar?
Doctors must explain any possible outcome of a scar revision surgery to their patients to manage their expectations.
A scar may look small on the outside when diagnosed. However, this may not be its original size on the inside. Typically, scars have extensions/roots running deep into your skin that are invisible from the surface.
For this reason, the wound formed on your skin after undergoing surgery appears to be more protracted than what was there before.
The surgical techniques used, especially for the cases of SCCs and BCCs, also contribute significantly to the change in the appearance of your surgery scar.
Surgeons will apply different techniques to make your scar lie flat during surgery. That’s why in the end, your surgical scar may look longer than you thought.
Though it’s possible to clear the roots of a skin cancer tumor by extracting a few layers of the tissue, it will surprise you how far these roots can go.
Most surgeons will do everything possible to make a surgery scar appear as tiny as possible by hiding it in the skin’s usual folds.
With time, your scar may heal and disappear on its own without you even noticing it. But it’s not always the case with everybody.
Patients who don’t like how their surgery scars look after healing may decide to undergo scar revision surgery to improve their appearance.
What Can You Do After Surgery for A Better Scar Outcome?
After surgery, your surgeon may discharge you immediately or ask you to stay longer in the hospital, typically one or two days, for close observation.
For a better scar outcome after scar revision surgery, a patient can do the following.
- Follow your surgeon’s recommendations. Your doctor will give you a list of things to do in post-operative care. You must follow all these tips religiously for a better scar outcome. The doctor may also apply some type of ointment on the wound before dressing to keep it moist and facilitate its healing process.
- Keep your wound moist while at home using gels or ointments that your doctor prescribes just before you get discharged. Usually, after 48 hours, you’re required to remove your dressing to clean your wound with water and soap. Later, you’ll apply the recommended gels and use a clean bandage to cover your wound.
- Reduce Movement
Any movement on the affected area may stretch your scar and affect how it heals, generally. For as much as it’s hard to avoid moving altogether, you should at least limit it.
Limiting activity may be challenging, mainly if the wound lies at the lower part of your leg or on your hand. However, if you understand what is at stake, you will take it easy for better results.
Do Everything Possible to Keep Your Scar Away from Sunlight
When exposed to sunlight, new scars tend to discolor. For this reason, you must apply sunscreen consistently on your scar for at least six months to protect it from the harsh rays of the sun. If possible, cover the affected area.
Remember, you may experience discomfort, pain, swelling, or discoloration after scar revision surgery.
Also, recovery may differ from one patient to the next, depending on their types of surgery. For others, it may take a few weeks to heal, and it may take several weeks for some people.
Consider a Scar Revision Surgery
Scar revision surgery will help make your scar less noticeable so that you can gain your confidence back since the procedure makes it cosmetically appealing. Also, the good results are long-lasting. Therefore, scar revision surgery is indeed worth it. Ready for your first skin revision appointment? Contact Dr. James Wang today for both your surgical and non-surgical skin revision. He’s a well-experienced doctor and an expert in facial plastic surgery who focuses most on aesthetic and cosmetic surgery.