What is Scar correction?
Following injury, infection, skin complaints or surgery, scars remain. Any scar can become unfavourable, especially if healing is complicated or prolonged and the quality or cosmetic appearance of the scar is poor. Hypertrophic (thickened and raised scarring) or keloid scars (overactive scarring spreading outside the area damaged) are more common in certain skin types. Occasionally, it may be necessary to intervene with scar revision surgery to improve the appearance of scar tissue, reduce the thickness of it, change its position or hide it. A ‘good’ scar is one that is well placed, thin and pale, making it especially easy to camouflage into the body’s natural curves and creases. Ethnicity and genetic factors can affect the appearance significantly.
What are the non-surgical and surgical options available?
In the early months of scar maturation, scars can be manipulated with massage, silicone preparations and occasionally steroid injections. Camouflage makeup may help, but sometimes removing the scar and restoring or re-orientating it is beneficial early on. Usually it is advised to wait at least nine months to allow full scar maturation, before considering revision. Occasionally alternative forms of reconstruction are necessary including local flap reconstruction, fat transfer or skin resurfacing.
How long do the results last for?
Scar revision begins the healing process again, but once the scar has matured, the results are for life (subject to the normal ageing process and any fluctuations in weight or in the case of children, growth). Once healed, the area will usually be swollen for several months while new lymphatic channels form to remove excess fluid. Scar maturation progresses for 12-18 months and steps can be taken to reduce its appearance and to ensure the area heals properly.
What are the risks?
Hypertrophic or keloid scars are more common in certain skin types, whilst infection and bleeding are risks of any surgery. Scars can become tender where previously they were not and there is always the small risk of making things worse.
What are the success rates?
Normally, scars can be improved upon significantly, especially where there was initially problematic healing. It is important to manipulate the scar as much as possible in the first year, so that the best possible result is achieved.
How much does the surgery cost?
The indicative prices below include the surgical fee, any anaesthetic used and the associated fees from the consultant administering this, in addition to the hospital fee and all tests and follow up. An accurate breakdown and a detailed quote will be given following the initial consultation.
From £800 for revision under local anaesthetic
From £2700 for revision under general anaesthetic
What general advice is there?
Scar swelling and lumpiness can be present for many months after the surgery. Sleeping upright for the first few nights helps reduce the severity of onset swelling and speeds up recovery. Massaging with moisturiser as part of a daily routine plus the use of a silicone preparation and UV protection for the first year, helps maximise the cosmetic result.
Facts for Scar correction
- Surgery duration: 1-1.5 hours
- Type of anaesthesia: Usually local anaesthetic
- Time in hospital: Day case
- Time off work: 1-2 days
- Recovery time: 2-3 weeks
- First follow up appointment: 1 week
- Total number of follow up appointments: 2
- Pain management: Simple pain relief (paracetamol and/or ibuprofen)
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