Potential Side Effects of Scar Revision

Your scar revision treatment may consist of either or both surgical and noninvasive procedures intended to improve the function and/or appearance of scarred tissue. In a small number of cases, your cosmetic specialist may be able to hide the appearance of scarring entirely. However, before you undergo the treatment, you should be aware of the potential side effects of scar revision.

Worse Scarring

In a small number of cases, the scar revision treatment can actually make scarring more visible. This is because, at least when it comes to surgical procedures, new scarring must be made in order to remove or disrupt the appearance of preexisting scarring. Typically, a cosmetic surgeon will try to hide new surgical scars along folds and creases that naturally occur in the body. However, sometimes the surgery can go poorly and you may not realize this for several months afterward, because the skin will be swollen and may also be inflexible for a time as it heals.

With noninvasive procedures, it's possible for you to have an allergic reaction to the treatment, which may cause your skin to become more irritated, either temporarily or permanently.

Hyper- or Hypopigmentation

While not always a risk, hyper- and hypopigmentation can pose a a cosmetic threat, especially to patients with dark skin tones. Hyperpigmentation (temporary or permanent darkening of treated areas of the skin) and hypopigmentation (temporary or permanent lightening of treated areas of the skin) can make your skin appear uneven and make scarred tissue even more noticeable. Discoloration is most often a problem with some forms of light therapy, although it can pose a risk during other noninvasive as well as surgical treatments. Discuss your discoloration concerns with your cosmetic specialist, who can help you choose a treatment with minimal risk to those with dark skin tones.


Infection is most often a risk with surgical scar revision procedures, but potentially a risk for noninvasive procedures as well. Infection manifests in excessive red, swollen and tender tissue, although all of these symptoms are normal to a point for the first few days after the procedure. If these symptoms are accompanied by fever or if the treated area becomes hot to the touch or begins emitting a pus-like substance, you may have an infection. It's important that you see a medical professional as soon as possible if you suspect an infection, so that it doesn't spread further into your body.

You can help prevent infection in your skin by taking prescribed antibiotics, which you should receive after surgical procedures but may not need after less invasive procedures. You should also clean the treated area(s) as directed by your cosmetic surgeon.

Your risk of encountering the potential side effects of scar revision treatment varies considerably depending on the kind of procedure the cosmetic specialist performs, as well as the size and location of the scarring. Your medical history and skin tone can play a role as well.

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