How Scar Revision Surgery Changes Lives

We accumulate hundreds of scars in our lifetime, whether intentionally (surgical scars) or unintentionally (accidental trauma scars). They often appear as pale, raised lines, deep impressions, or discolored spots on the skin. Each one of them tells a story of your life, an event in your past that left a physical mark, but for many people, they can be a reminder of a traumatic experience or an embarrassing sight that forces you to wear concealing clothing or avoid bathing suits. Constantly worrying about the scars on your body is no way to live life.

If you’ve tried every topical cream you can get your hands on to help reduce the appearance of your scars, but nothing seems to be working, it may be time to consider Las Vegas scar revision surgery. While complete scar removal isn’t possible, there are several treatments that may improve the scar’s appearance and help make it significantly less visible. With a scar revision procedure, patients have found closure from a difficult time in their life, they’re able to wear the clothing they want to wear without feeling self-conscious, and they find their mental and physical health vastly improve once they are no longer haunted by their scars.

Continue reading to learn more about our scar revision process at Signature Plastic Surgery & Dermatology in Henderson and Las Vegas, NV. Lead by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Himansu Shah and his team of expert dermatologists, your scar revision results can allow you to live your life to the fullest without being hindered by the appearance of a scar.

How Do Scars Form?

When you get a scrape, cut, or incision, your body responds with a series of steps to heal itself:

  • The first step is hemostasis. The body works to stop blood loss by sending platelets to the abrasion that bind together and seal the wound, forming a scar.
  • Next, you’ll notice an increase in inflammation at the site. White blood cells arrive to fight off potential infections from unwanted bacteria. You may notice swelling, heat, and pain during this time. This is a natural step in the healing process that will usually resolve itself on its own unless a great infection starts to form. More inflammation during this step can mean a greater chance of scarring.
  • The next step is referred to as proliferation. As proliferation occurs, you’ll notice the edges of the scab start to shrink towards the middle, leaving fresh, new skin in its wake.
  • Finally, once the scab is gone and the wound is completely healed, this is called maturation. A pale, possibly raised scar is left where the wound had been.

What Types of Scars Are There?

A scar can take the shape of a fine line or a pitted hole in the skin or an abnormal overgrowth of tissue.

Fine-Line Scars

Fine line scars are the most commonly found after a shallow wound or after surgery. They are not usually painful, but they can itch periodically, and will often appear pale red, or pink.

Keloid Scars

A keloid scar is an abundance of tissue that occurs when too much collagen is sent to the wound site. The scar continues to grow even after the wound has healed. Keloid scars are characterized by how they raise over the skin and can be pink, red, or darker than the surrounding skin. They’re often itchy or painful and most commonly occur around piercings or after a bad acne breakout.

Hypertrophic Scars

Similar to keloid scars, hypertrophic scars are the result of excess collagen being present at the wound site. Unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars will not extend past the border of the original wound. They can thicken for up to 6 months before showing improvement.

Pitted Scars

Pitted or sunken scars are generally caused by skin conditions, such as acne and chickenpox. Pitted scars, also known as atrophic or “ice pick” scars, may develop due to an injury that causes a loss of underlying fat. Many patients experience pitted scars after a liposuction procedure or a tummy tuck in the abdomen.

Contracture Scars

When the skin is burned, what tends to happen is the skin “shrinks,” leading to tightness and restricted movement.

What Scar Treatments Are Available?

Since there are a variety of different types of scars, it’s important to first speak with your healthcare provider or a certified dermatologist before starting any type of scar revision treatment. A professional will be able to determine the type of scar you have, rule out any evidence of skin cancer, and provide you with the best treatment options.

Based on your provider’s assessment and diagnosis of the scar, size, location, and condition of your skin, a treatment plan can be created to help reduce the visibility of the scar. Depending on the type of scar, one of the following treatments can be provided:

Topical Scar Treatment

Many brands of creams, oils, lotions, and gels claim to reduce the visibility of scarring. They are often over the counter and may include ingredients like onion extract, vitamin A, or vitamin E. However, there isn’t much evidence that these ingredients or products are effective as they’re not able to penetrate deeply enough into the skin’s barrier to target the tissue beneath.

If you have scarring due to acne, a topical retinoid may be recommended by your provider. Some common and effective retinoids available include:

  • Tretinoin
  • Tazarotene
  • Adapalene

Scar injection Treatments

Corticosteroid injections may also be recommended by your provider to reduce scarring. Steroid injection treatments are recommended for raised hypertrophic or keloid scars. The injections are administered right into the scar itself, and the active ingredients can help to flatten scars as well as reduce discomfort or itchiness.

Scar Removal Surgery

Surgical scar treatments to remove a scar are the most effective option when other, less invasive treatments fail to work. Scars that require surgery are often larger, raised, and cause complications, such as pain, itchiness, decreased flexibility, or cosmetic issues.

The most common types of surgical scar revision treatments include:

  • Cryotherapy—This treatment uses intense cold to freeze off scar tissue, much like a wart. Cryotherapy is usually recommended for smaller, raised scars.
  • Laser Treatment—Laser treatments use infrared light to smooth raised scars and diminish discoloration, so the scarred area blends more seamlessly with the rest of your skin. You’ll likely need multiple sessions of laser treatments to achieve your desired results.
  • Surgical Scar Revision—This procedure involves surgically removing the scar in its entirety, then repairing the skin using a skin graft.

What Is Scar Revision Surgery?

At Signature Plastic Surgery & Dermatology, we offer many surgical methods of scar revision, including:

  • Subcision—Subcision is a minor in-office surgical procedure that is often used to treat acne scars. It involves inserting a small needle into your skin to release the acne scar tissue from the underlying tissue. This disconnection will allow your skin to rise and reduce the appearance of acne scarring.
  • Excision—Scar excision involves your surgeon removing the scar using a scalpel and closing the skin with the adjacent skin. Your surgeon will reposition the original scar along the natural creases of the skin.
  • Punch Elevation—Punch elevation is a surgical dermatology procedure that utilizes a punch tool, regularly used for the biopsy of skin cancer, to remove scar tissue caused by extensive acne breakouts. This treatment is minimally invasive and works best for deep scarring.
  • Surface Treatments—Surface treatments are minimally invasive treatments, such as dermabrasion or chemical peels, that gently remove the top layers of the skin through exfoliation, leading to the rejuvenation of the underlying layers. These methods work best for scar discoloration.
  • Fillers—Dermal fillers have been successful at “filling in” depression scars and creating a smooth, even skin surface. However, the effects are not permanent, and you may need maintenance treatments to sustain your results every six to 12 months.

What Are the Benefits of Scar Revision Surgery?

Scar revision surgery offers a wide range of advantages, including:

  1. Cosmetic improvements—This is often what draws patients toward scar revision surgery. Our methods won’t only improve a scar’s texture but also its color, size, and shape, making it less conspicuous. This can improve your self-confidence as you’re no longer bothered by imperfections.
  2. Comfort—Scars can be painful, itchy, and irritating, which can have negative effects on your life. You may not be able to wear the clothing you want or participate in activities like swimming. The main objective of scar revision surgery is to help you feel more comfortable.
  3. Relief—Scars are often the products of trauma. Having to see the marks of a traumatic experience can negatively impact your emotional and mental health. A scar revision procedure can help you put the past behind you and embrace the future in beautiful skin that you appreciate and admire.

Explore Scar Revision Options at Signature Plastic Surgery & Dermatology in Las Vegas, NV

If you have a scar—large or small, fresh or old—there are more possibilities than ever before for revising its appearance. Learn more about your options with renowned Las Vegas surgeon Dr. Himansu Shah and his team of knowledgeable dermatologists at Signature Plastic Surgery & Dermatology. You can contact us by calling (702) 684-5502 or requesting your consultation through our online portal.