When the skin is in the process of recovering from an injury, whether the result of an accident, surgery, a burn, or acne, scarring will occur wherever multiple layers of the skin have been affected. Once a scar forms, it is permanent but may be made less visible or relocated surgically.
With very few exceptions most people are self-conscious about facial scars. Some people may also experience diminished functioning of the eyes, mouth, or nose due to scarring. If you've wondered how facial scar revision could improve your appearance, your self-confidence, or your level of facial functioning, you need to know how scar revision works and what you can expect from this procedure. This pamphlet can address many of your and provide you the information to begin considering facial scar revision surgery.
Successful facial plastic surgery is a result of good rapport between patient and surgeon. Trust, based on realistic expectations and exacting medical expertise, develops in the consulting stages before surgery is performed. Your surgeon can answer specific questions about your specific needs.
Different types of scars respond to different plastic surgery techniques. Timing of surgery is another important choice. Some surgeons advise against any scar revision in cases of injury for a period that might extend up to a year after the injury. This interval allows the body enough time to heal fully.
Different scars require different treatments. For example, severe burns that destroy large sections of skin cause the skin to heal in a puckered way. As the skin heals, muscles and tendons may be affected in this "contracting" movement. Keloid scars are a result of the skin's overproduction of collagen after a wound has healed. These scars generally appear as growths in the scar site. Hypertrophic scars, unlike keloids, do not grow out of the boundaries of the scar area, but because of their thick, raised texture, can be unsightly and may also restrict the natural movement of muscles and tendons.
Some facial scars are unattractive simply because of where they appear on the face, while others affect facial expressions. All surgical possibilities will be discussed in the initial consultation along with risks involved for each type of scarring. The agreement between you and your surgeon on how to proceed is a prerequisite for successful surgery. After you both decide to proceed with scar revision, your surgeon will inform you about the anesthesia, the surgical facility, any supportive surgery options, and costs.
Because scars are highly individualistic and the patient's attitude toward scars is so personal, maximum improvement in facial scars may require more than one procedure, and more than one technique may be employed.
Dermabrasion and laser resurfacing are methods a surgeon uses to make "rough or elevated" scars less prominent, by removing part of the upper layers of skin with an abrading tool or laser light. Clearly, the scar will remain, but it will be smoother and less visible.
Keloid or hypertropic scars are often treated first with injections of steroids to reduce size. If this is not satisfactory, the scars can be removed surgically, and the incisions closed with fine stitches, often resulting in less prominent scars.
Facial plastic surgery makes it possible to correct facial flaws that can undermine self-confidence. Changing how your scar looks can help change how you feel about yourself.
Insurance does not generally cover surgery that is purely for cosmetic reasons. Surgery to correct or improve scars caused by injury may be reimbursable in whole or in part. It is the patient's responsibility to check with the insurance carrier for information on the degree of coverage.
© Copyright 2000 American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery
|Copyright © 2001-2008 - Deborah Watson, M.D.|