These scars usually result from an overly aggressive healing process and are primarily composed of collagen, leading to an overgrown scar. They are firm, rubbery lesions or shiny, fibrous nodules and their colour varies from pink to red to dark brown. These scars are benign and not contagious. Keloid scars sometimes cause itchiness and pain as well as changes in texture and in severe cases they can affect the movement of the skin.
A hypertrophic scar is a scar resulting from an overly aggressive healing process that is characterized by excessive amounts of collagen which leads to a raised scar, but not to the degree of a keloid scar. They often contain nerves and blood vessels. Hypertrophic scars are red and thick and may be itchy or painful. The main distinction between a hypertrophic scar and a keloid scar is that hypertrophic scars do not extend beyond the boundary of the original wound, unlike keloid scars.
These scars refer to the tightening of the skin after a second or third-degree burn. When skin is burned, the surrounding areas pull together and tighten which results in a contracture. These scars need to be treated as soon as possible due to the scar causing a restriction of movement around the injured area. Usually require flaps and revision surgery.
As the name suggests, acne scars occur after cases of acne, typically during the adolescent years. Acne scars usually only form in people who have had more severe cases of acne. Within the area of acne scars, there are many sub-forms of scars such as macular and boxcar scars each of which has different treatments. For this reason, it is important to consult Dr Young to determine the type of scar you have so that you can undergo the correct treatment. Usually require multiple sessions and modalities to get the maximal result.
The procedure for each type of scar is different, depends on the types of scars, also your expected outcome.
Contracture Scar Treatment
This type of scar is treated through surgical methods, primarily through a skin graft. Firstly, the scar area is removed from the skin, then either a skin flap is lifted over the area to form a new incision line or a skin graft is used in which a layer of skin is moved from a healthy part of the body to the affected area. This will typically leave a far smaller scar that is less visible and does not affect your movement in the area once the healing process is completed.
Keloid or Hypertrophic Scar Treatment
These scars are typically treated through injections of steroids into the scars which reduce the size of the scar making them less noticeable and less visible. If this treatment is not satisfactory, scars are then removed surgically and the incisions are closed with fine stitches. This leaves scars that are far smaller, less prominent and less visible, compared to the original scar.
Each of these procedures is often either used alongside or after the use of over the counter or prescription creams, ointments and gels, where these products have proven to be ineffective at making the scar smaller and less visible.
Scar treatment has minimal risks involved with the procedure and is relatively safe in most cases. The risks are different for every patient and every type of procedure, however, there are some main risks that are associated with scar treatment which include:
With each of these risks, there are a number of ways to minimize the potential of these risks and the effect they have and we will discuss these in the recovery guidelines section. However, since every risk associated with scar treatment procedures is different for each patient, talk with your cosmetic surgeon about the risks involved with your intended procedure so that you can determine whether you are ok with the risks that are involved.
The recovery from these procedures depends on the specific procedure as well as the patient, however, below we will provide some general guidelines for your recovery from scar treatment. Firstly, for the first week after your procedure, decrease the amount of activity you undergo, especially more strenuous activities such as exercise. Additionally, in order to reduce the swelling of the affected areas, gently applying cold compresses to the area. Finally, for about a month avoid any activity that places stress on the area of the procedure as they will hinder your recovery.
If you take any medication, make sure you clear it with your surgeon first as while most medications are ok to take, certain medications can have a harmful effect on you and your recovery. Complete recovery from your procedure in some cases will take a year or more to occur, however, results are noticeable immediately and as time passes you will notice better and better results, as your scar becomes smaller and less noticeable.
Cost varies significantly depending on the difficulty of the procedure, if it is done in conjunction with other procedures as well as numerous other factors. A lot of these treatments can only be treated by certain cosmetic surgeons so make sure that your cosmetic surgeon can perform this procedure in an effective manner.