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Plastic surgeons who are honest and forthcoming will never “guarantee” surgical results. They’ll forecast or suggest what you might look like, show you before and after pictures so you generally know what to expect and work hard to understand your wishes and translate them into reality. They’ll also tell you that each person is unique, and so is each procedure and post-op period. In short, healing is unpredictable—and that goes for scarring as well.
Even if you’ve done basic research on scars and taken every precaution, you still might end up with an unattractive, tell tale mark of plastic surgery. If this happens, what are your scar revision options?
In short, the approach to improve the look—and in some cases, the function—of a scarred area depends on the scar. For minor scars and to aid in healing after scar revision surgery, you might try medical tape, compression or a gel. To reduce superficial scarring and uneven pigmentation, surface treatments are often a good choice. These can include dermabrasion, laser or light therapy and chemical peels (ASPS 1).
For depressed scars, the best treatment is often an injectable substance such as a dermal filler. Results are temporary and treatment will eventually need to be repeated (ASPS 1).
Two kinds of troublesome scars that can result from plastic surgery are hypertrophic scars and keloid scars, or scars that become prominent due to an overproduction of collagen during healing. Both kinds tend to be more prevalent in young people and in people with darker skin tone. There can also be a family tendency toward this kind of scarring, meaning once you’ve had a hypertrophic or keloid scar you may experience another (Smith & Nephew 1).
Hypertrophic scars are red or dark in color and are raised above the skin’s surface, but do not otherwise spill over beyond the boundaries of the wound. They may be itchy and/or painful, and in some cases may restrict movement. Keloid scars grow beyond the boundaries of the surgical site, and they’re most common on the ears, chest, shoulders and back (Smith & Nephew 1).