Scars are the result of an injury to the skin and most often occur from accidents and surgery. Scarring can be affected by the location, the direction of the scar and the type of wound. In general, scars can be worse in certain areas of the body such as the upper chest, shoulders and back. Some patients also have a tendency to develop keloid type scars that can be very noticeable and even cause problems such as pain and itching. Scars also depend on how your body heals and they can be much more noticeable on one person than another. The patient’s age and skin color can affect the resultant scar. A scar hidden in a crease may be very unnoticeable, whereas one going across a crease can be quite noticeable. Patients can also vary considerably as far as their acceptance to scarring. When surgery is complete, we do our best to minimize scarring, however, even with the best surgical techniques, scarring will develop and it is just a matter of how noticeable it is.
Scarring is permanent after any injury to the skin. The scars do improve with time. We like to see how a scar improves before deciding on whether to perform scar revision. In general we like to wait a year after the injury or surgery to make any determination as far as whether scar revision will be helpful. One exception is that if a scar gets thickened and itchy, often times Cortisone injections and/or silicone sheeting can be helpful. After a scar has developed, we also have techniques that can, in many cases, help improve the scar. The most common techniques available include Cortisone injection, silicone sheeting or scar revision by either excision of the scar or by changing the direction of the scar. Filler material can also be injected under the scar to help a depressed scar. An evaluation by one of our plastic surgeons can help determine if you would be a candidate for treatment of a scar.