Risks with Scar Reduction Surgery

Risks with Scar Reduction Surgery

Healing often proves slow. Those suffering from scars often find themselves growing impatient and turn to scar reduction surgery, thinking it is a better option than topical treatments. Is it? Let’s examine the process and its risks.

When topical scar therapy fails, more invasive techniques used to reduce the appearance of scars include laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, and surgical scar revision.

What is Surgical Scar Revision?

Scar revision surgery is the most invasive technique for reducing scar appearance but often yields the most impressive results. It typically involves:

  • Numb the patient with anesthesia.
  • Remove rough or dead cells from the scar site using surgical excision.
  • Identify viable skin flaps (adjacent pieces of tissue, unaffected by the scar).
  • Gently lift skin flaps over the previous scar site, bring the edges together and suture them together.

Scar revision surgery is usually performed by plastic surgeons. When performed correctly, scar revision surgery delivers the maximum results while minimizing additional incisions. However, patients must realize that with this method comes a variety of risks.

Read More: Scar Reduction

What are the Risks of Scar Reduction Surgery?

Those considering scar reduction surgery should note the potential dangers involved:

  • Most scar revisions can be performed under local anesthetic. Even though this is less risky than general anesthesia, local anesthetics still come with risks including allergic reactions
  • Skin discoloration
  • Skin swelling
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection at the incision site
  • Post-Op bleeding
  • Further ugly scarring
  • Pain at the surgical site which may continue for weeks

Many of these issues often prove temporary, but the possibility of permanent complications remains after any surgery, even the most minor. Individuals should thoroughly discuss the scar reduction process with their doctors, as well as note any current conditions they have that may increase their risks.

Read More: Surgery

What is the Expected Recovery Time for Scar Reduction Surgery?

There is no established timeline for scar reduction recovery. Some patients may heal within two weeks, while others instead require a month. It depends greatly on:

Scar Type – Certain scars, such as keloids, can be more extensive and more difficult to remove. The more extensive the surgery, the longer recovery can take.

Scar Location – The placement of the scar site directly affects its overall healing speed. Scars over joints are constantly subjected to movement and can therefore take longer to heal. Occasionally, the scar revision site may be immobilized to encourage faster healing.

Age and Genetics – The person’s age and their genetic traits impact healing tremendously. Older patients tend to heal with less scarring. Some people are genetically “better healers”!

Read More: Scar Healing

Scar reduction surgery can be highly beneficial for many patients.. However, there are inherent risks with any surgical procedure and patients should approach it with caution. Discuss your options fully with your plastic surgeon, and make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery!

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