Facial Scar Revision Treatment: Is It Safe and Should You Try It?

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Facial Scar Revision Treatment: Is It Safe and Should You Try It?

Facial scars can be difficult to live with as they distort your face and your confidence permanently. People with unattractive scars tend to feel disheartened by their appearance. Modern day developments in surgical techniques have made it possible for you to say goodbye to these unsightly scars and feel normal again. Although these methods are a ray of hope, but their side effects are huge which make people reluctant to reach a decision and to undergo these procedures.

In this article, you will get to know about facial scar revision treatment and whether or not it is safe to try it. You will also learn what you can expect from such treatments, like the scar revision cost, for example. You will also get ideas about how you can combat the side effects you may face.

1. Before You Go Under the Scalpel: Understanding the Scar Revision Procedures

Scar revision surgery is a procedure that helps remove unsightly scars from your face and restore your appearance. Many accident survivors opt for this treatment to remove their scars which remind them of their traumatic experience. People looking to lose weight quickly opt for tummy tuck program and later tummy tuck scar revision. Women who have had a C-section delivery also go for a scar removal treatment called c section scar revision.

Doctors prescribe this treatment, especially a scar revision CPT, to their patients only when the scars interfere with the functioning of certain muscles and joints. Scars tend to shorten or tighten the skin, which restricts the movement of the muscles underneath them. This is called a contracture.

Contractures on the face can affect the muscles that promote facial expressions. In such situations, facial scar revisions are a good option to consider. Facial scarring revision treatment is also considered a cosmetic procedure or reconstructive surgery.

Understanding Scars: The Three Phases of Development

To understand scar revision surgery and the potential risks that come with it, you need to understand what a scar is, and how it forms, too. A scar has the following three phases:

Phase 1: Inflammation

Inflammation follows your injury and stays until the wound is completely healed. Inflammation is a way your body fights against infection. A new wound may look swollen or red, but it is your body’s own way to deal with the injury. A wound is likely to be affected by the bacteria from the environment until the damaged skin over it is replaced by a layer of new skin.

Phase 2: Transitional Repair

In this phase, your body promotes the formation of scar tissues. The scar tissues help to hold the wound together. How long this phase will last depends on how deep the wound is.

Phase 3: Maturation

This is the repair process that follows phase two. New skin develops to replace the skin damaged during the injury. The new skin forms by breaking down the scar tissue. Problem scars appear in the maturation phase of the wound.

Types of scars that are commonly treated by scar revision treatment are:

Keloids: These are shiny and smooth, benign tumors that look like unnatural growths around the healed wound. Keloids form due to the overgrowth of skin tissues and excessive protein deposition at the site of wound.

Hypertrophic Scars: These are thick scars that often have a ropey texture.

Atrophic Scars: Atrophic scars are thin or flat scars.

Contracture: These scars occur when the damage involves a large area of the skin. The edges of the remaining skin are held tightly together by the scar which restricts movement of the muscles underneath them.

Scar tissues are made of collagen, as opposed to ordinary skin cells, which make the rest of your skin. This makes the scars stand out because scars:

i. Are a different color

ii. Do not have sweat glands

iii. Lack have hair follicles

People who have darker skin tones are prone to have scars like keloids. Different scar revision methods are recommended for different kinds of scars.

What Is Facial Scar Revision Treatment?

Scar revision treatment aims to improve how the scar looks by one of the following:

i. Disguising

ii. Relocating

iii. Minimizing

You must remember that there is no way to make a scar completely disappear. Scar revision treatment may resort to one of the follow methods to treat scars:

Steroid InjectionsSteroid Injections: In this method, steroids are injected into the skin, which helps improve the inflammation and speeds-up the healing process.

Topical Application of Steroids: This method serves the same purpose as that of the injectable steroids but gives results at a slower pace.

Topical Applications of Silicones: Silicones are natural lubricants that provide lubrication to the skin and lay down a skin-like layer on your face, which helps mask the scars.

Dermabrasion: This method makes use of an abrasive instrument to gently file the skin. As a result, new skin layer grows which then reduces the appearance of the scar.

Laser: In this method, dermatologists expose the damaged skin areas to laser. Laser ablates the damaged skin cells and new skin cells grow as a result.

Tissue Expansion: This method involves growing extra skin by controlled mechanical overstretching

Z-Plasty: In Z-Plasty, the surgeon makes deliberate incisions to the skin. This helps reduce the likelihood of contracture formation, and thereby reduces the chances of scar formation.

Skin Grafting: This is one of the most effective scar revision treatments. This method involves replacing the damaged skin with skin from some other part of your body

Your dermatologist is best suited to tell you which of the above will best suit your need.

So, Is It Safe?

All of these procedures may have different side effects. It is important to know about few of the common side effects to give you an idea of the possible risk factors involved in scar revision treatments. These side effects are in the text to come.

After you have taken the decision, have a detailed discussion with your dermatologist about the procedure you have chosen. A consent form explaining the risks is often handed to the patient before the surgery. This is to ensure that you understand the risks and give your consent to undergo the procedure knowing all these side effects.

2. Scar Revision Treatments: Procedures That Come with Significant Risks

A longer operating timeThe primary concern of a patient who is about to undergo this treatment is regarding how much pain will the treatment inflict. The amount of pain that you will experience during the treatment will depend on the treatment. Pain is also a subjective modality and varies from person to person. More extensive the procedure is; the more painful it will be.

It will also mean that you will have to bear with:

i. A longer operating time

ii. Slower recovery

iii. Greater cost

iv. More risk

But extensive surgeries are also more effective. There is also a greater chance that your scar will no longer be visible. This is the reason that they are also more expensive. Scarring revision cost can be draining on your pocket. Extensive surgeries like laser and abdominal scar revision can cost twice as much as other simple options.

Like every surgery, scar revision procedures can have a common few side effects:

Bleeding: Though bleeding or hematoma after scar revision treatment is unusual, you cannot completely rule out the possibility. Procedures like dermabrasion may lead to minor post operation bleeding. In severe cases, you may also require emergency treatment.

Infection: Infection is one of the major side effects after facial scar revision surgery. The wound left behind by the treatment is not sterile; therefore, there are chances that microorganisms from the environment can infest. This can lead to infection and pus formation. Additional treatments like administration of antibiotics may be needed in the case of infection. In severe cases, you may also need additional surgery to debridement the wound.

Skin Discoloration: Some procedures, like laser treatments, can cause skin discoloration. While mild bruising and swelling may follow the scar revision treatment, the skin surrounding the area which has received the treatment may appear lighter or darker in color. Skin discoloration after scar revision treatments can stay for a long period of time and in some rare cases, can be permanent.

allergic reactionAllergic Reactions: In some cases, you may develop an allergic reaction to some medication or the sutures used. Blood products and injections can also cause allergies. Allergic reactions may require immediate attention and additional treatments. Some people may experience a fit or anaphylaxis as a result of their allergy to certain prescription drugs.

Damage to Deeper Structures: Certain deeper structures like nerves, blood vessels and muscles may get damaged during the surgery. In most cases, the damage caused is temporary but in some cases it can be permanent.

Scarring: Scars may occur on the skin and in the tissues underneath it. The sutures may leave a visible mark on the skin which may resemble scars. In some cases, another scar revision surgery may be needed to eliminate these scars.

Apart from these major side effects, there are other complications that may delay your healing:

Numbness: You may experience lowered or complete loss of sensation in the skin.

Skin Sensitivity: Itching, tenderness and exaggerated response to extreme temperatures are some common side effects of these procedures.

Wound Disruption: Splitting open of surgical wound, due to any reason, may slow down the healing.

Complications from Surgical Anesthesia: Laser treatments, skin grafting and tissue expansion like procedures are done under local anesthesia as they are also more painful. Anesthesia has its own set of complications, ranging from allergic reactions to the anesthetic agent used to complete respiratory arrest.

Skin Contour Irregularities: You may observe depressions, wrinkles and residual skin after the treatment.

Fluid Collection: Fluid may accumulate in the surgical wound leading to infection and retardation of healing.

heartbeatCardiac and Pulmonary Complications: Longer and complicated procedures can cause blood clots in the veins leading to shortness of breath, chest pains and irregular heartbeat.

It is important that you are prepared beforehand for these post-treatment complications. Like in all forms of surgical treatments, facial scar revision treatment has many risk factors, and it is better to understand them and be prepared for them before undergoing the treatment.

3. Unexpected After Effects: Ways to Cope with Unsatisfactory Results of a Facial Scar Revision Treatment

Besides these physical side effects, which facial scar revision surgery can have, there is a huge psychological risk involved. What if the outcome of the treatment is unsatisfactory?

Facial scar revision treatments usually yield good results but there is no guarantee that you will see a lot of difference between scar revision before and after. Under such circumstances, you will meet huge disappointment as these treatments demand that you invest a lot of time energy and money.

Apart from being disappointed, you may also experience:

i. Depression

ii. Anxiety

iii. Personality disorders

iv. Adjustment problems

v. Social isolation

vi. Family problems

vii. Self-destructive behavior

The emotional letdown may also trigger anger towards the surgeon and their staff. It is important that you understand that the results yielded by facial scar revision treatment, or any cosmetic surgery for that matter depends, to a great extent, on the patient. Though the doctor’s skills matter but in most cases, the results are not in your doctor’s control.

You are more likely to get disappointed if you have unrealistic expectations from the procedure. In order to deal with the emotional distress, it is important that you talk to your doctor about your expectations beforehand.

Also, you can take a few steps to prevent scarring from the surgery which is a major reason why many people feel let down after facial scar revision treatments:

Avoid Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Alcohol, Garlic, Ginger and Fish Oil: These medicines and supplements thin the blood which increases your chances of bleeding. The more you bleed, the more chances are that you will retain the scars. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any of them, though, especially if you already take supplements, OTC meds and prescriptions.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: Alcohol slows down the healing of wounds. Moreover, alcohol and caffeine lead to dehydration. Adequate hydration is a must for proper wound healing.

Exercise Without Straining the Wound: Exercise improves circulation that helps your body repair itself faster. Exercising will also help you feel healthy and good about yourself. But make sure that you avoid those exercises that stretch your wounds. Such exercises do more harm than good as they delay the healing of your wounds.

Avoid Smoking: Smoking decreases circulation to the surgery site and thus hampers your body’s healing ability.

Lose Weight: Fat under your skin increases the risk of scarring.

Ways to Accept Your Scars

Some scars take a long time to fade, so here are some ways to deal with them emotionally:

Open Up. Talk to other people will help you come to terms with your scars.

Remember, You are not Alone. There are many people around you that bear scars on their bodies.

Look on The Bright Side. Use your scars to remind yourself of your strength of overcoming. Your scar bears the story of your recovery.

Try to Slowly Change the Way You Look at Your Body. Your body may be imperfect, but it is still yours. Valuing it and keeping it healthy is your responsibility.

Facial scar revision treatment can be risky, not only in terms of physical side effects, but also in terms of psychological outcomes. There is always a chance that you might not get what you are expecting; therefore, it is important to do the following:

i. Have the knowledge of what the treatment can and cannot do

ii. Keep your expectations realistic.

Be prepared for the possible outcomes before you decide to try a facial scar revision treatment.

4. Scar Revision: Expensive, Tedious and One’ Not Always Enough

It is clear that facial scar revision treatment may not be suitable for everyone. An ideal candidate who should go for facial scar revision treatment someone who:

i. Is interested in minimizing the appearance of a scar.

ii. Has knowledge about the procedure.

iii. Does not smoke.

iv.Does not consume alcohol heavily Does not consume alcohol heavily.

v. Does not abuse drugs.

vi. Is prepared for the outcome.

vii. Has good physical and mental health.

viii. Has realistic expectations.

Your surgeon will take all the above criteria into consideration before he decides to perform the surgical treatment.

Besides the risk of side-effects and an unexpected outcome, the time taken to perform and recover from a facial scar revision treatment is a factor that must be considered in order to judge whether or not it is convenient for you. Different scar revision techniques may take different lengths of time to both perform as well as heal.

Here are some of the popular facial scar revision treatments and the time a surgeon takes to perform them:

Collagen Injections: These are quick injections that can be administered by your surgeon at his clinic. However, you may need to repeatedly take these injections as your body will absorb the collagen.

Dermabrasion: This procedure may take from a few minutes up to an hour. Also, the effects are almost temporary and you need to undergo dermabrasion on regular basis.

Laser: Laser treatment can take from few minutes to up to two hours to perform depending on the size of the scar. Often, you will have to take several sessions before the treatment begins to yield results.

Skin Grafts: These are complex procedures that may take up to several hours. The results may still be imperfect and may need multiple sessions.

Also, these procedures having different healing times:

Collagen Injections: Start to show results almost immediately. The pitted scars begin to look smooth and even as soon as the injections are administered. However, the results are not permanent and you may have to go back to your doctor for these injections from time to time.

Dermabrasion: How soon the results will show will depend on how fast your skin heals. Usually, it takes from seven days to two weeks to heal. After the treatment, the skin will feel swollen and look as if it has been sun-burned. You will also find it difficult to move your facial muscles and may need oral medications to ease the discomfort. Scabs begin to appear after few days.

Laser: Laser takes few days to several weeks to recover from it. You may experience discomfort initially, and may need to use a cold pack to find relief.

Skin Grafts: Skin grafts take a long time to heal. You may experience some swelling, bruising and redness. Your doctor will remove the sutures once the healing starts, which can take several days or even weeks. Any physical activity is not recommended during this time.

Almost all of these treatments are not permanent. You may need to visit your doctor periodically to review the results. Treatments like dermabrasion cannot make the scars disappear completely. It also works best on fine scars but usually fails when the scars are deep.

Whether or not you wish to try facial scar revision treatment, is entirely your choice, but make sure you openly talk to your doctor regarding which procedure is best suited for you, your budget, your expectations, allergies and family history of mental illness. If performed by an experienced surgeon, with some luck you and proper post-surgery care, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of facial scar revision treatment.

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