The face cannot be hidden. It is how we present ourselves to the world. A scar on the face can be a constant reminder of a past surgery, trauma, accident, or even severe acne in childhood. And it is important to note that while a scar cannot be removed completely its appearance can be significantly reduced. Performed under local anesthesia or with IV sedation, a scar revision procedure may involve removal and reorientation of the scar, along with meticulous closure. Scar revision may also involve dermabrasion or laser resurfacing to smooth the texture and reduce the redness of a scar. Some individuals may benefit from dermal filler or a fat transfer to fill in depressed acne scars. Finally, in individuals who develop keloids - a severe inflammatory reaction resulting in a scar that extends beyond the confines of the original incision or trauma - topical and injected steroids may also be needed. Dr. Harmon is a fellowship-trained facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is focused exclusively on surgical and non-surgical care of the face, nose, eyes, and neck. His detailed knowledge of facial anatomy allows him to create a personalized treatment plan in consultation with you. First, an assessment is made of the location, length, thickness, and texture of the scar. A complete exam focuses on the appearance of the scar and on the functional consequences of the scar. This includes dry eyes and changes to the mouth. These factors determine the most appropriate approach to your care.
Am I a good candidate?
Candidates for scar revision surgery have concerns about the appearance of a scar and/or functional problems due to a scar they have developed from a previous surgery or trauma.
Most candidates for scar revision surgery range in age from late teens to 80s. A consultation is recommended to determine candidacy for the procedure, because there may be factors that preclude this procedure for certain individuals. Reasonable expectations must be established about what scar revision surgery can and cannot accomplish as with all plastic surgery procedures. As with all facial plastic surgery procedures, results can vary.
Recovery from scar revision surgery is specific to the individual. The duration of recovery will vary from person to person. The average recovery time for a scar revision procedure is 7 to 14 days for most individuals. Sutures (stitches) are typically removed between days 5 and 14 after surgery, depending on the location and extend of the procedure.
Some swelling and bruising are expected after a scar revision procedure. Post-operative bruising is generally minimal. Post-operative swelling and bruising generally improve significantly by 7 to 14 days after surgery. Swelling and bruising are expected to continue to improve and resolve in the ensuing days and weeks.
Makeup can generally be applied to the incision site(s) starting approximately 10 to 14 days after surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What type of anesthesia is required?
- Scar revision can usually be performed under local anesthesia or under IV sedation. Some individuals may require general anesthesia.
- Will scar revision eliminate my scar?
- No. Every incision on the body heals differently than normal skin. As a result, every incision, including scar revision surgery, results in a scar. Scar revision surgery can improve the appearance of a scar in multiple ways. First, it can create a thinner, less visible scar. Second, it can reorient a scar in a way that makes others less likely to recognize it. Third, it can place a scar in a natural fold and/or border that masks the appearance of a scar. Every scar revision surgery requires a different approach and requires the expertise of a plastic surgeon focused exclusively on the face.
- Is scar revision a painful procedure?
- Facial plastic surgery procedures are generally well-tolerated by patients and typically involve little pain, especially when compared with surgery on other areas of the body. Patients are usually prescribed just a small amount of pain medication for after surgery. In fact, we have found most use only over-the-counter pain medication including acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen after surgery instead. And those who do use the prescribed pain medication usually only use it the first night after surgery. With that in mind, it is important to note that every patient perceives and processes pain differently. Some patients have a high pain tolerance. Others may be more predisposed to be more sensitive to pain. We at Harmon Facial Plastic Surgery are focused on balancing minimizing post-operative discomfort and maximizing safety.