American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

What is Scar Revision?

Scar revision is performed to improve the condition or appearance of a scar anywhere on your body. After an injury or surgery, often a scar will remain as a visible sign of a wound that has healed. While scars are a natural part of healing, their development can be unpredictable. Scar revision surgery is meant to minimize the scar so that it is more consistent with your surrounding skin tone and texture. The different types of scars include:

  • Discoloration and surface irregularity scars—These scars do not impair function or cause physical discomfort and include acne scars as well as scars resulting from minor injury and prior surgical incisions.
  • Hypertropic scars—These scars are thick clusters of scar tissue that develop directly at a wound site. They are often raised, red and/or uncomfortable and they may become wider over time. They can be hyperpigmented (darker in color) or hypopigmented (lighter in color).
  • Keloids—These scars are larger than hypertropic scars. They can be painful or itchy and may also pucker. Keloids extend beyond the edges of an original wound or incision. They can occur anywhere on your body, but commonly develop where there is little underlying fatty tissue, such as on the breastbone or shoulders.
  • Contractures—These scars restrict movement due to skin and underlying tissue that pull together during healing. They occur when there is a large amount of tissue loss, such as after a burn. Contractures also form where a wound crosses a joint, restricting movement of the fingers, elbows, knees, or neck.

Although scar revision can provide a more pleasing aesthetic result or improve a scar that has healed poorly, a scar cannot be completely erased.

Scar revision can be performed at any age and is a good option for you if you:

  • Are bothered by a scar anywhere on your body
  • Are physically healthy
  • Do not smoke
  • Have a positive outlook and realistic goals for your scar revision surgery
  • Do not have active acne or other skin diseases in the area to be treated

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