Which Type of Scar Are You Considering Revising?

Woman Patient talking to doctor

From paper cuts to past acne, from skinned knees to surgical procedures, anything that breaches your skin has the potential to cause a scar. Most people have a few minor scars here and there on their body — after all, it’s tough to get through life completely unscathed. But when scars are large, discolored, and in a prominent spot, they can present a huge self-image problem.

Dr. Kiran Polavarapu is our highly skilled plastic surgeon here at Polavarapu Plastic Surgery in Fort Worth, Texas, and she can diminish the appearance of your scar with a variety of scar revision techniques. The treatment she uses depends on several variables. Here’s what you need to know.

Three main types of scars

The way your skin scars is about as individual as your fingerprints. Although there are three main scar types, your scar takes on unique characteristics according to your skin type and tone, where it’s located, how deep the wound or incision was, the direction of the wound, and the way you heal. That said, scars typically fall in to one of the following categories:

1. Hypertrophic scars

These thick, raised scars form over the top of your wound, and generally don’t stray beyond the borders. They start off with a reddish tone, but usually change over the years to a flesh tone that’s either lighter or darker than your natural tone. 

Hypertrophic scars tend to fade on their own. Studies show that although three months after surgery, 60% of patients have hypertrophic scars, by the time they reach their one-year, post-surgery milestone, only 32% still have raised scars. 

2. Keloid scars

If you form a clump of scar tissue that’s bigger than the original wound or grows beyond the injury site, you have a keloid scar. Although they can appear anywhere on anyone, they tend to be more prevalent on darker-skinned people and most often occur on the chest, shoulders, face, ears, and neck. Some keloid scars are itchy and painful.

3. Contracture scars

Some scars form a layer of tissue over the wound that’s so tight it pulls the surrounding skin until it contracts involuntarily. Contracture scars occur when a significant patch of skin is missing, such as is common with a severe abrasion, like road rash, or a traumatic burn.

How scar revision improves the look of your scar

Scar revision is a procedure that aims to make your scar smoother, smaller, and less noticeable. It’s important to seek the professional advice of a skilled plastic surgeon like Dr. Polavarapu before deciding to undergo scar revision treatment because there are risks involved, as with any procedure.

If you and Dr. Polavarapu decide that scar revision can help, there are several approaches she may take.

Steroid injections

Corticosteroids injected under your scar may help shrink the scar tissue and reduce its appearance. Steroids also relieve the pain and itchiness of scars. 

Dermabrasion

If Dr. Polavarapu’s assessment of your scar indicates that the appearance can be softened without surgery, she may treat it with dermabrasion, which involves controlled scraping using a rotary wheel to remove the top layers of tissue.

Z-plasty

Severe scars that are large and raised may benefit from z-plasty. Here, Dr. Polavarapu makes an incision on either side of your scar and creates two angled flaps in a zig-zag formation. When she sutures the flaps, the tension is relieved, and the old scar is less visible.

Skin grafts

If you have an area of skin missing, Dr. Polavarapu may take a section of skin from another (less visible) part of your body and patch your skin with it. Eventually, the skin bonds with the tissues at the new site, and new blood vessels form.

Skin flaps

Like a skin graft, a skin flap is taken from a donor site somewhere else on your body, but this time, Dr. Polavarapu uses some of the fat, muscle, and blood vessels, too. She then reattaches the vessels at your wound site. This procedure may be necessary to maintain proper function after healing.

If you have a scar that’s bothering you or hindering your ability to function, schedule a consultation with Dr. Polavarapu to find out if you’re a good candidate for scar revision. Use our online booking tool, or call us at 817-615-8576 today. 

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