Whether it is caused by previous operations, sporting injuries or accidents, scarring can have a major impact on our appearance and self esteem. Scar removal is a cosmetic process which seeks to remediate the effects of scarring by restoring or enhancing your natural appearance.
Scar removal is simply the removal of aesthetically unattractive or harmful scar tissue. Scars vary, and there are a number of procedures to remove scars. But all have the effect of altering the appearance of skin, and restoring a healthier, more natural look.
The most common form of scar removal involves using steroid injections to make raised scars shrink in size, although dermabrasion, topical creams, peels, and skin graft or incision surgery can be recommended.
If you choose a surgical route, the procedure will usually be as follows:
This is one way to approach surgical scar revision. Another option involves tissue expansion. This is a longer-term procedure, requiring multiple admissions, involving the implantation of a saline-filled balloon beneath the scar. As the balloon expands, it has the effect of stretching healthy skin - preparing the way for a simple operation to remove the scar.
As usual, you will be able to discuss which procedures are most appropriate for your circumstance when you attend preliminary consultations.
The procedure detailed above is only one form of scar removal, and it may not be prescribed by your cosmetic surgeon. Instead, they will most likely recommend non-surgical interventions, leaving surgery as a secondary option. These non-surgical methods include:
In addition to these common methods, you may find the surgeons recommend the use of silicone sheeting (one of the least invasive options), or the use of tools designed to exert pressure on scar tissue. However, this treatment is not preferred in most cases due to the need to wear devices regularly over long periods.
Every patient has a different scar removal experience, so it is difficult to say what to expect from the process. In general, you should expect to consider various options, meaning that the preparatory phase is extremely important. Talk openly about your aims and desires with your surgeon, and don't be afraid to ask about various methods. If you require surgery, expect a period of 6-8 weeks (and perhaps longer) before seeing the results. Wounds made during layering and skin grafts require time to heal, and tissues in the skin must adjust to surgery.
Similarly, if you choose non-surgical methods, it is important to give them time to work. Removing scars is not simple, as surgeons are essentially exchanging one scar for another. Skilled practitioners can ensure that the result is hard to distinguish from healthy skin. But getting there takes time.
Finally, if one method does not succeed, there may be alternatives. So don't assume that the final results are permanent. You may have other remediation options.
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