Blame it on that freak accident you had from playing sports, a surgical procedure to correct an injury, a deep wound caused by your neighbor while playing in the park, or your clumsiness. Whatever is the cause, scars will always find a way to surface on your skin.
You don’t need to be reminded of the things of the past. In fact, a scar tissue removal procedure has improved over the last few decades to correct or reduce the appearance of scars.
The question now is this: is it worth it?
Here are 17 things you should know about how to remove scar tissue, the procedures involved, and whether scar tissue removal surgery is the right thing for you.
These are some of the many questions you should know the answer to before you understand what scar tissue removal is all about.
The American Academy of Dermatology defined scars as marks left on your skin after an injury heals. In fact, scars are part of your body’s natural healing and biologic process, wherein your body repairs the wound in your skin and other tissues.
It is difficult to put a number on the individuals that have scars. Nonetheless, hundreds and thousands of people are willing to go through a scar tissue removal of some type to reduce or even remove their scars.
2. The Evolution of Scars: How Those Marks Develop on Your Skin
It could be because of a skin condition like acne, accident, disease or a surgical procedure. When your dermis or the deeper layer of your skin is damaged, your body forms new collagen fibers to mend the damage. These collagen fibers are naturally occurring protein in your body to help in the repair process.
Once the new collagen fibers take over, the new scar tissue will have a different texture and quality than its surrounding tissue. Once the wound has healed completely and depending on your wound, some collagen fibers will decide to stay; hence scars form.
Most scars are flat and pale; however, there are instances when they are raised. Read the next section to learn about the different types of scars.
3. Say Hello to Scars in Their Varied Forms and Appearance
If your skin decided to cooperate, your scar will be flat and pale. Unfortunately, there are instances where the appearance would be different, depending on the severity of your wound.
Here are the different kinds of scars:
Raised – This happens when your body produces too much collagen on the wound. Examples of raised scars are keloid and hypertrophic scars.
Sunken or Pitted – This kind of scarring happens when the underlying structures supporting your skin are lost. Surgical wounds and acne are good candidates of this type of scar.
Stretched Skin – This happens when your skin stretches rapidly during pregnancy or growth spurts. Stretched scar can also occur when your skin is under tension during the healing process.
4. The Not-So-Good Side: The Truth About Scars You Should Know
Not necessarily. Even if scars are permanent, there are still ways to minimize their appearance. With today’s technology, there are several options available to help you eliminate them completely, which you will learn more about in the succeeding sections.
5. Say Bye-Bye to Scars and Hello to Scar Tissue Removal
They may be a part of the normal healing process, but for many people who don’t like them, scars could affect their self-esteem. Scar removal creams and home remedies could be good options. On the other hand, if you want a more permanent solution, then there are invasive and non-invasive techniques you can try in the list.
These treatment options belong to one umbrella: scar tissue removal.
This is the employment of different strategies to remove or improve the appearance of scars. At the same time, it helps restore function and correct any skin changes or disfigurement caused by wound, accident, skin trauma or injury.
There are different procedures available to help you remove scars. Since they come in variety of forms, size, depth, and severity, there are also corresponding procedure to properly address your scarring condition.
Keep reading to know more about these procedures.
6. Minimize the Appearance of Your Scar with Scar Revision Surgery
If you are after minimizing or reducing the appearance of scar to make it more consistent and even with your surrounding skin tone and texture, then scar revision surgery could be your best bet. Your treatment options will also vary depending on the degree, size, location and severity of scars.
Minimally invasive procedures.
Application of simple topical treatments.
Surgical revision using advanced techniques to close the wound.
How Scar Revision Surgery Works
Your surgeon will administer anesthesia to provide comfort during the procedure.
For existing surface scars and discoloration, topical treatments like gel, external compression, or tapes could help to close the wound.
If you have depressed or concave scars, injectable treatments could be the solution. Your doctor may use steroid-based compounds to reduce the formation of collagen and alter the appearance, including the size and texture of a raised scar.
Surface treatment is another option to cosmetically improve the appearance of scars, soften surface irregularities, and reduce pigmentation. Examples of surface treatments are dermabrasion, chemical peel, skin bleaching agents, or laser therapy.
For deeper scars, your surgeon might make an incision to surgically remove the old scar and reduce its appearance on the surface.
Once the treatment option is administered, your surgeon will close the incision. It could be layered closure where the excision extends to the tissue below the skin; or complex flap closure to reposition the scar and improve your flexibility.
Make sure you discuss this option thoroughly with your doctor to find out the best treatment option for scar revision.
By now, you have an idea of the different surface treatments for muscle scar tissue removal. Keep reading to know more about them in detail.
7. Burn those Scars Away Using Chemical Peel
You might associate chemical peel with acne removal. Did you know that you can use this treatment to minimize the appearance of your scars?
In this procedure, chemical will be applied on your skin to facilitate the removal of the top layer where the scars are found. This reveals a healthier skin on the surface.
There are four different types of chemicals used in this procedure:
Alpha-hydroxy acid, which is the most common type of chemical used,
Glycolic acid to remove scars left by sun damage,
Phenol, which is the strongest solution used in chemical peel,
Trichloroacetic acid for darker skin tone,
Your recovery time could take four to 10 days depending on the type of chemical used and severity of the scar. Apparently, a chemical peel doesn’t work on deep scars, which is why you should consider the other options below.
8. Treat Deeper Scars with a Dermabrasion Procedure
If acne scars, pockmarks, surgical scars, and minor irregularities are your issues, then dermabrasion could help.
Dermabrasion is a type of procedure where a high-speed instrument with an abrasive wheel or brush called a burr or fraise is used to remove the outer layers of your skin. This includes scarred and damaged skin, thereby improving the appearance of marks. As a result, it makes it easy for new skin to grow over the area.
Take note of the side effects such as:
Temporary darkening of the skin
Uneven changes in your skin color, which could be permanent or temporary
Aside from this, you can try the other techniques below to know your options for scar tissue removal after knee surgery.
9. Fill Indented Scars – and Say Goodbye to Unwanted Marks – Using Dermal Fillers
Let’s say you had a knee injury after playing volleyball with friends. Unfortunately, knee reconstruction surgery left you with indented scars. What is your next option?
Try dermal fillers for knee scar tissue removal.
How Dermal Fillers Work
In this procedure, absorbable materials will be injected on the indented scars in your skin to create a fuller appearance and make the scar look more even with it s surrounding skin. There are various materials used for this procedure.
Fat is the most popular material used, although fat can be absorbed by your body easily. Other options include:
Collagen – It was taken from cow or human cells and could last for only up to four months.
Hyaluronic Acid – Although this one is found in body tissues, this material is chemically modified to last longer for six months to 12 months.
Calcium Hydroxylapatite – This material is found on human bones and teeth, giving you a buffer for 18 months.
Poly-L-Lactic Acid – Known as PLLA, this material may last up to two years.
Polymethylmethacrylate Beads – PMMA is a man-made polymer that provides permanent filler for your scars.
10. Punch and Graft Technique: Remove Scars and Say Hello to New, Healthier Skin
Let’s say you have deep, ice pick scars, what is your next option? In that case, you might want to say hello to punch graft technique.
How does this work?
From the name itself, this procedure works by “punching” holes in the scarred area to remove the scars. Thereafter, the punched area will be “grafted” by filling new and unscarred skin, which is usually taken from the skin behind your earlobe. As a result, the scar tissue after surgery is less noticeable and makes your skin smoother.
Here’s the catch: there are other processes and resurfacing techniques you have to go through to correct any skin discoloration. This could mean additional six weeks to see an improvement on the appearance, although surely, the results are worth it.
11. Freeze Scars Through a Procedure Called Cryotherapy
Did you know that you can freeze your scars and eventually get rid of them? This is the solution offered by cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is a type of procedure to remove scar tissue by freezing the skin lesions using:
Liquid nitrogen, which is the common method used
DMEP or dimethyl ether and propane
Carbon dioxide snow
Redness, pain, and immediate swelling are some of the side effects you will experience after the procedure. There is also a possibility of blistering, although this will get better in a few days. You might find scabs forming on your skin, but it will peel off within five days to three weeks, depending on the size and location of the treated area.
Don’t worry about these side effects. These will get better eventually and you won’t even notice that they are gone. Apparently, you have to go through a series of treatments with a minimum of 10 sessions to make the effects last longer.
Cryotherapy may work on any type of scars, but a study published in the Archives of Dermatology revealed that this procedure is safer and more effective against keloid and hypertrophic scars.
12. Laser Scar Treatments: A Scar Solution Worth Trying
If you want a more permanent solution to your scars, then laser treatment is the best way to go. There are three main types of laser treatments according to the severity, location and type of your scars, including:
Non-Ablative Laser Resurfacing – This method uses infrared skin laser to apply heat on the inner layers of your skin without affecting the surface. Consequently, it promotes collagen production to create new and fresh skin cells, while replacing the old and damaged ones.
Fractionated Laser Resurfacing – This method is like non-ablative, but without pain. Tiny beams of light are also used to penetrate deeply into your skin to break down dead skin cells. At the same time, it stimulates production of collagen in the deeper layers of your skin to reveal a healthier one on the surface.
Laser Resurfacing – This is a high-powered laser treatment that removes the scarred and damaged layers of your skin. For shallow scars, Erbium: YAG laser is advisable, while CO2 laser is recommended for deeper and thicker scars because of its ability to penetrate deeply into your skin.
13. Get Your Wallet Ready: The Cost of Scar Tissue Removal Procedures
Here’s the thing: scar removal procedures come with a price – and it bears a hefty tag. Here are the average costs for each scar tissue removal procedure:
Chemical Peel – A light chemical peel ranges from $150 to $300 per session, while medium chemical peel using trichloroacetic acid costs $1,000 to $2,000. For deep chemical peel that uses phenol, it will cost you $2,500 to $6,000, although this requires only one session.
Cryotherapy – A single session might cost you $80 to $150, depending on your chosen facility.
Dermabrasion – Depending on the size and depth of the feeling, the cost could range from $1,500 to $4,000.
Dermal Filler – This costs $263 to $2,000, depending on the material used.
Laser Skin Resurfacing – The average cost for this type of treatment is $2,300.
Punch Graft Technique – The average price of this procedure is at $1,300.
Scar Revision – This could be costly since one session could mean $500 to $3,000.
The cost for each procedure will vary according to the following factors:
Price of anesthesia
Hospital or surgical facility’s cost
Doctor’s professional fee
Consultation fee before and after the procedure
Geographic location of the scar
Transportation expenses going to and from the clinic
Consequently, the costs include the procedure alone and the factors mentioned means additional payment. Some doctors have packages or may arrange in-house financing to help you cover the costs. Make sure you discuss this option with your doctor to help you pay off the expenses.
14. The Role of Insurance Companies in Scar Tissue Removal
Based on the prices mentioned, it is safe to say that the treatment options to remove scar tissue come with a hefty price tag. Here comes the not-so-good part: insurance companies won’t cover the costs.
Scar removal options are considered as cosmetic procedures; hence not covered. On the other hand, if the procedure is medically necessary, such as removing precancerous growths on your skin, then your insurance company can make an exception. Otherwise, you might have to pay for any of the procedures straight from your bank account.
This is why it is important to ask for financing options in order to avail of the procedure and minimize the appearance of scars.
15. Understanding the Mechanism of Internal Scar Tissue Removal
Aside from what you see on the outside, scars could also happen on the inside of your body. This is called internal scar tissue – and it affects every part of your body.
Internal scar happens when your body undergoes trauma or inflammation of cells and tissue such as undergoing abdominal surgery. There are cases where it could form an adhesion, or a band of scar tissue that connects two internal parts of your body. This could restrict your movement or prevent you from functioning without causing pain.
Scar Revision Surgery to Remedy the Situation
Since it is internal, the best way to remedy the situation is through surgery. In case abdominal adhesions occurred, abdominal scar tissue removal is also available and the best way to deal with it is through surgery, as well.
Take your pick among the choices above, and consult your doctor to find the best solution for you.
16. Caveat: The Downside of Undergoing Scar Tissue Removal
Scar tissue removal procedures have good intentions. In fact, these treatment options are only after one thing: to eliminate your scars. Unfortunately, all good things come with a price – and their own set of side effects.
Removing your scars is no exception.
Make sure you take note of the following side effects:
Risks from anesthesia, such as breathing problems and reactions to medication
Scar tissue pain
Separation of the wound
Recurrence of scar
Scar removal procedures may come with side effects, but this doesn’t mean you will automatically experience them. That is why it is important to choose a surgeon wisely to make sure you can minimize these side effects.
17. You Can Say No: Things to Remember to Stop Scars from Showing Up
Scars may be permanent, but that doesn’t mean you cannot do anything about them. Believe it or not, there are many ways and techniques that could stop scars from saying hello to your skin, or at least minimize their chance of appearing.
Instead of going through these procedures, you can try these techniques to prevent scars from forming:
Get stitches if needed and as soon as possible, especially if the cut or wounds are spread apart.
Apply petroleum jelly and cover the wound with a non-stick bandage to keep the wound moist.
Do not apply vitamin E on the affected area since it increases your risk of contact dermatitis.
Keep your wound away from the sun to minimize discoloration.
Avoid applying hydrogen peroxide on your wound since it could lead to irritation and slow down the wound’s healing process.
Leave your scabs alone and avoid picking them. Scabs are biologic dressing and part of the healing process.
More importantly, let your wound heal naturally. This gives your wound a better fighting chance to minimize, if not prevent, the appearance of scars.
Things to Remember
Centuries ago, scars were considered permanent. Thanks to advancements in technology, you can finally say goodbye to these marks that are taking a toll on your self-esteem.
Take note of the different scar tissue removal options available and discuss with your doctor to find out the most appropriate treatment for you.