Scar revision is surgery to improve or reduce the appearance of scars. It also restores function, and corrects skin changes (disfigurement) caused by an injury, wound, or previous surgery. Scar tissue forms as skin heals after an injury (such as an accident) or surgery. The amount of scarring may be determined by the wound size, depth, and location; the person’s age; heredity; and skin characteristics, including color (pigmentation). Not all the factors that affect a scar are completely understood.
Depending on the extent of the surgery, scar revision can be done while you are awake (local anesthesia), sleeping (sedated), or deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia). Medications (topical corticosteroids, anesthetic ointments, and antihistamine creams) can reduce the symptoms of itching and tenderness. A treatment called silicone gel sheeting or ointment has been shown to benefit swollen, hypertrophic scars and may help flatten them or make them less painful. There is no evidence showing that any other topical (applied directly to the scar) treatment works. In fact, Vitamin E applied directly to the skin may actually cause the wound to heal more slowly and may cause irritation.
When to have scar revision done is not always clear. Scars shrink and become less noticeable as they age. You may be able to wait for surgical revision until the scar lightens in color, which can be several months or even a year after the wound has healed. For some scars, however, it is best to have revision surgery 60 to 90 days after the scar matures.