Scar revision encompasses a series of both surgical and non-surgical procedures that aim to diminish the appearance of scarring and/or increase the flexibility and function of scarred skin. Weighing the advantages against the disadvantages of the procedure can help you approach the procedure with realistic expectations.
Con: Rarely Completely Removes Scarring
It's important that you approach scar revision with the idea that your scars will improve in appearance or that the scars, if they currently impede the flexibility of your skin, will become less of an impediment, rather than thinking your scars will be removed entirely. In a small number of cases, the entire length of scar tissue can be removed. But this is only the case if the size of the scarred tissue is small and the location of the scarred tissue lends itself to removal, as the removal will create new scars that must be hidden in nearby natural creases and folds in the skin in order to justify removing the initial scarred tissue.
Pro: The Variety of Procedures Allow for a Number of Improvements
However, while you may not entirely lose your scar, there are enough different facets to the scar revision process that will lead to improvement in your scarred tissue.
- Improvement in skin tone: Discoloration (either darker or lighter tissue) is a common effect of scarring; there are ways to lighten or darken the tissue in order to make the tissue a closer match to the rest of your skin.
- Improvement in skin texture: Uneven texture is another frequent facet of scarring. Techniques such as dermabrasion can flatten areas of scarred tissue that raise above the skin while techniques such as injectable fillers can plump up recessed areas of scarred tissue.
- Interruption in scar lines: Scars in straight lines are usually visibly more jarring than scars that curve or are interrupted. Using surgical re-sculpting or other less invasive techniques, your surgeon can reshape the scar so that it's less noticeable.
Pro and Con: The Recovery Process
How invasive your recovery procedure is actually depends on how invasive your scar revision procedure is to begin with. Some minor revision procedures performed largely to improve the cosmetic appearance of the scarring alone may require virtually no changes to your lifestyle. You may be able to return to work immediately and experience some minor redness and swelling for a time, but aside from avoiding excessive sun exposure and wearing sunscreen, you shouldn't have to make any changes to your lifestyle.
On the other hand, more invasive revision procedures may require you to stay home from work for two to seven days. You may have stitches that need to be removed after four to seven days. And you may need to attend physical therapy in order to increase the flexibility of your new tissue.
If you're aware of both the pros and the cons of the scar revision procedure and you decide to go forward with the procedure regardless, you'll be happier with the results because you'll have realistic expectations. Chances are, you will see some improvement in the appearance and/or function of your scarring, so the procedure may be worth the cost and recovery time regardless.