As the part of the body most exposed to the elements, the skin is notoriously prone to imperfections. All of us get scars and scrapes as we go about our daily activities. But some scars are larger, more serious, or more disfiguring than others, and sometimes it pays to have them surgically removed, whether for safety or aesthetic reasons. Now no procedure can actually eliminate scars completely, although they come pretty close.
Below are some of the most common types of scar removal surgery, and how they work.
Laser scar removal:
This works by running a small laser beam over the affected area, burning off the affected layers in the process. This exposes the new skin underneath, which more closely matches the skin around it. Costs range from$300 to $400 per hour, although factors like the size and location of the scar can also affect prices.
Although commonly used as a wrinkle removal treatment, dermabrasion first became popular as a scar removal technique. It uses very fine crystals to scrape off the top layer of skin cells, causing a reaction that makes new skin grow. Dermabrasion works only on superficial and very shallow scars; it cannot “fill in” imperfections that cut into the skin, such as boxcar scars. The procedure can sting slightly, and a local anesthetic can be used when done over an extensive area.
Silicone scar sheets:
In this procedure, a scar sheet lined with silicone gel on one side is placed over the skin to speed up healing. The process can take days or weeks, but since the sheet is soft and waterproof, it doesn’t cause much discomfort and can be used on most parts of the body. The patient may have to wear a pressure garment in addition to the sheet. The sheet flattens and fades mild to moderate scars and has been shown to prevent further scarring, although being a recent development, many doctors are hesitant to use the process.
This works best in keloid and hypertrophic scars, which are caused by excessive scar tissue creating a dark lump on the skin. The treatment involves injecting steroids into the scar, which softens the hardened tissue and allows it to flatten. The injections are made to work long-term and are highly effective, but since it uses strong medication, the procedure has to be done under strict supervision and other tests may be required to avoid adverse reactions.