Understanding Scars

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The wound or injury may have healed a long time ago, but the scar remains. Depending on how well the area healed, the scar might be particularly prominent. While in some cases, a scar doesn’t interfere with your life or prove to be particularly disfiguring, in others, the scar might be a source of embarrassment. Certain types of scars can make it difficult to move, as they outgrow the boundaries of the initial injury or tighten the skin in the area.

You have two options when it comes to dealing with scars. Scar management is designed to help the scar look less noticeable in the first place. If the scar has already formed and is interfering with your life, scar revision surgery might be an option for you.

Surgical Scars

If you decide to undergo plastic surgery, it’s essential that you understand that some scarring is expected. But the skill and experience of the surgeon plays a large role in determining how the scar develops. The type of surgery you get also determines the degree of scarring. For example, surgeries on certain parts of the body, such as a tummy tuck and arm lift, typically result in more prominent scars than eyelid surgery or rhinoplasty.

How you care for the incision site and scar after the surgery determines how pronounced the final scar will be. The way the surgeon sutures the area and the type of suture material used also plays a role in determining how the scar looks when all is said and done.

Keloid Scars

A keloid scar is a type of scar that simply has continued to grow, stretching beyond the site of the wound. You can develop a keloid scar at a surgical incision site. Keloids can also develop at the site of piercing, such as on the earlobes, on acne scars and at the site of an injection.

The scars are more likely to form on the chest, shoulders, back and ears, or anywhere on the body where there isn’t that much fat. While anyone can develop a keloid scar, they tend to develop on people with darker skin. The scars impact men and women equally.

Other Types of Scars

One scar that’s often confused with a keloid scar is a hypertrophic scar. Like a keloid, a hypertrophic scar is raised. It’s typically red in color. Unlike a keloid, a hypertrophic scar remains within the boundary of the initial injury.

People who have experienced severe burns might develop what’s known as a contracture scar. The tissue loss connected to third degree burns causes the skin to pull in. A contracture scar can make it difficult for a person to move, particularly if it develops across a joint.

Severe acne during the teen years can lead to noticeable scars on the face or other areas. The form and size of acne scars varies from person to person. Some might develop pits or crevices in their skin. Acne scars can also be raised.

Revising Scars

The process of revising a scar depends on the type and shape of it. Typically, the revision process can change four aspects of a scar: the width, depth, shape, and color. It’s worth noting that the scar’s length can’t be adjusted or fixed with revision surgery.

Skin resurfacing, using a laser, may be used during the revision to alter the color of the scar, make it flatter or fix any irregularities. If the surgeon needs to make an incision to fix the scar, he may do so to change the scar’s location or position. Care needs to be taken during surgery to fix a scar to ensure that the surgery itself doesn’t result in another undesirable scar.

Scar Management

Since surgery typically results in scars, the Bitar Institute offers a special program designed to reduce the appearance of scarring and to help scars heal more effectively. The program features all accepted treatments including topical creams and tapes, injectables, lasers and surgery.

Scars are a part of surgery. But, they don’t have to radically change the way you look or negatively impact your appearance. Scar revision is handled on a case by case basis; every body heals differently. To learn more about your scar management and revision options, contact Dr. George Bitar and Dr. Robert Centeno at the Bitar Institute near Washington, DC. Call (703) 206-0506 for a consultation at their practice.