Scars are areas of fibrous tissues which replace normal skin once injuries have occurred. All scarring is composed of the same collagen as the replaced tissue, however, the composition of the scar tissue in comparison to the normal tissue is different. There is no way to ensure the complete removal of a scar, however, there are ways to diminish its appearance. Choosing the most appropriate treatment for a scar depends on the type of scar one has, however. The most common kinds of scars are: Keloid, hypertrophic, and contracture.
Common procedures for scar removal include the following:
- Surgical procedure: This is the most invasive type of treatment. In this, a surgeon can reduce the size of a wide scar or can also potentially take skin from another part of the body to place it over the scarred area.
- Laser scar removal: This is known as an effective and noninvasive procedure for the purpose of scar treatment. Intense light can be used to reduce the color, size, and shape of a scar.
- Chemical peels: A chemical solution is placed over the area of the skin where scarring has occurred. Then, when the peel is removed, a layer of skin is lifted away to showcase a smoother layer of skin. Chemical peels take multiple treatments, and are most effective for surface-level scars.
- Dermabrasion: This consists of the use of a machine which looks like a small sander. In this, the dermatologist smoothes away the top layer of your skin.
- Injections: This is meant for scars rising above your skin. Steroid injections can shrink the size of scars, and even make then even with the surface of your skin. Other types of injections are collagen or dermal fillers, which fill in the area around a deep scar.
The most common side effects of scar removal procedures consist of infection and bleeding. Hyper pigmentation and hypo pigmentation are potential risks as well, with this being more likely in the case of dark skinned people. Hyper pigmentation consists of the temporary darkening of the skin making scarred tissue much more noticeable, therefore, surgeons should be consulted about this before surgery. Skin flap necrosis is a possibility as the scarred skin layer loses its blood supply and the cells end up dying. More severe scars might develop as well, as the skin can get irritated or, or allergic to the revision process. However, this is temporary, and unlikely to happen.
It is crucial to ensure that patients are carefully screened before a scar removal procedure. The patient is required to be emotionally stable, not carrying a child, and a non-smoker and a non-drinker as well. The patient must also not have a family history of keloids, lupus, diabetes, etc. Furthermore, it is important to recall that these procedures might not completely remove a scar and that for invasive surgeries, the recovery period can at times take around a week. There are a few scars which require physical therapy to restore flexibility in the old scar site. And lastly, the results of a scar removal procedure vary significantly depending upon the size and appearance of the scar, along with the cause of the scar and the health of the patient.
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