When skin is wounded from either surgery or trauma, the skin heals with a scar. Depending on many different factors such as surgical technique, environmental factors and individual wound healing abilities, the scar will vary in appearance. Some patients will heal with a thin scar that is inconspicuous and others will heal with a scar that can be thick, raised, and red. A scar revision is a procedure that is performed for thick and unsightly scars that have had at least 12-18 months to heal.
If you have a scar that bothers you in appearance and has had adequate time to heal and settle, you may be a candidate for a scar revision. It is important to note that all wounds of the skin heal with a scar, even the scar revision surgery. After the scar revision, another scar will form but the goal is that the new scar will be less noticeable. Some patients develop thick scars such as keloid scars which are difficult to treat with a scar revision. Be sure to tell your plastic surgeon if you or family members tend to heal with thick scars or keloid scars.
When you schedule a consultation with the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago, you will speak with a board-certified plastic surgeon who will review your goals with you and perform an examination to see if you are a good candidate for a scar revision. Be prepared to discuss your medical history, any medications you might be taking, known allergies, and previous surgeries.
Even though scar revisions are relatively minor procedures, it is still always important to have an expert board-certified plastic surgeon perform your procedure. Technique, experience, and skill level matter when having any surgical procedure.
Scar revisions are typically performed in the office under local anesthesia. Your plastic surgeon will determine the best orientation of the new scar based on shadow lines and natural skin creases. A surgical knife will be used to remove the scar meticulously and the wound will be closed with a no-touch technique, maximizing the patient’s ability to heal. In many cases, most or all of the sutures that are placed are dissolvable. In certain situations, the external sutures may have to be removed.
The recovery time is usually very quick and patients can return to school or work the following day. Wound care instructions are provided and patients follow up in 1-2 weeks for a wound check and to remove sutures if needed. Patients can start strenuous activity 1-2 weeks after the procedure. After the scar has healed, your plastic surgeon will teach you ways to minimize the scar over time.
If the procedure is performed by a board certified plastic surgeon, scar revisions can be performed safely and with minimal risks. There are, however, potential risks that can be associated with any surgical procedure. The potential risks of a scar revision may include:
- Hematoma (blood clot)
- Wound break down
- Delayed wound healing
- Worse scarring
It is a common misconception that plastic surgeons can perform scarless surgery. Unfortunately, any surgical procedure or any significant trauma to the skin, results in scar formation. The goal is to give the patient’s body the best opportunity to heal with a minimal scar.
It is difficult to give an average cost of a scar revision due to several variables, such as your location, the expertise of the plastic surgeon, and the size of the scar to be revised. The range can be between $1000 and $4000 but be sure to discuss all costs associated with your treatment during your consultation.
If you have a scar that concerns you and you are interested in having a revision, schedule a consultation with the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago. You will speak with a board-certified plastic surgeon who will discuss your specific aesthetic goals and determine if a scar revision is right for you.