Scar revision surgery – how it works, and where to find treatments
For those cases where non-invasive treatments will not work, scar revision surgery may be the answer. The practice of minimising or removing a scar, treatment methods can vary, depending on the type of scar.
So, what kind of scar revision surgery right for you, and what key things do you need to consider before seeking treatment?
In this article:
Duration of results
Permanent. Unless suffering with keloid scars
Back to work
One to two weeks
Full recovery time
Up to two years for scar revision to fully heal
Four to five hours, depending on surgery type
Local, regional, or general anaesthetic administered depending on surgery type
What is scar revision surgery?
Scar revision surgery typically uses incisions or grafts to ‘hide’ or lessen the appearance of visible scarring to the skin, and is typically available in the following forms:
- Elliptical Excision.
- Skin graft surgery.
- Geometric broken-line closure.
Invasive surgery is usually only offered to those with restrictive, large, and deep-set scars, with non-surgical methods likely to be suggested by healthcare professionals for less intrusive scaring.
How does scar revision surgery work?
Types of surgery
The scar tissue and a small amount of surrounding tissue are removed to hide or reduce the appearance of the scar.
Skin graft surgery
Here, the scar revision surgeon places a skin graft within an open, deep-set, or large scar, to help blend it with the surrounding pigment and texture.
This technique can disguise linear scars by creating a ‘Z-shaped’ incision along the line, repositioning it within natural creases.
Geometric broken-line closure
Used on large facial scarring, the scar is separated with a central incision and random geometric shapes are cut into either side. This is then sewn back together (like a puzzle piece), greatly disguising the appearance of the scar.
Before the treatment
A fully qualified scar revision surgeon is required for these kinds of treatments. During a consultation, your plastic surgeon will advise you on how to prepare for the procedure, which often includes:
- Avoiding anti-inflammatories or blood-thinning medication (eg, ibuprofen, aspirin, herbal supplements etc).
- Avoiding drinking and smoking in advance of your surgery.
- Advice on what you can and can’t eat in preparation for surgery.
- Advice on what to wear for surgery.
During the treatment
- Local anaesthetic will be applied to the required areas, or regional or general anaesthesia will be administered in the case of more invasive, complex surgeries.
- They will make the incisions. If you are receiving a skin graft, this process will usually take longer and require an increased number of incisions and tissue removal.
- Once the surgery is complete, your wounds will be cleaned, stitched, and dressed.
- You’ll then be allowed to rest at the clinic until the surgeon deems you fit to go home.
After your surgery, it is common to experience some side-effects – but these will usually fade in one to two weeks. These often include:
Your surgeon will offer you advice on pain relief medication to take and how to clean and dress your wound(s) once you go home. Remember to follow their guidance to prevent infection, and the wound from reopening – if you notice any signs of this, seek immediate medical treatment.
What else do I need to know?
Is scar revision surgery permanent?
Yes, results are usually permanent, though it may take some time for the wound to fully heal and for you to be able to see the desired results. In some cases, this may be weeks or months – for more extensive or deep scarring, it could be up to two years. If you suffer from keloid scars, which can pucker and grow outside existing wounds, these may grow back even after surgery.
How much does it cost?
Prices can vary depending on the size of the scarred area, the type of surgery you’re having and the clinic itself. For example, skin grafts will usually cost more than excision surgeries. On average, prices begin at around SR3,000 for average-sized scars, but can be far greater for complex procedures.
How can I find options near me?
To find the best scar revision surgeon for you, make use of our clinic locator and local listings tool to help find nearby options.
Non-surgical scar revision treatments may also be worth considering.
Gels, tapes, and external compression garments can help close deep-set scars, or treat surface discolouration and minor scarring.
- Prescribed by doctors.
- Not compatible with all scar types.
- Treatment must be continued for long-lasting results.
Dermal fillers and steroid injections can be used to alter the appearance of deep scars, usually by filling them out or flattening raised tissue.
- Effective at treating most types of scars.
- Results are relatively quick to appear.
- Not permanent, so treatment must be repeated.
- Can be expensive when applied over time.
- Relatively quick and simple procedures.
- Usually more affordable than surgery and injectables.
- Require multiple sessions.
- Results are not permanent.
- Scar tissue is much more vulnerable to sunburn and UV radiation, so remember to protect it with high SPF creams year-round.
- Vitamin C consumption can help to reduce the dark pigmentation of some scars, as it is a natural antioxidant.
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