A scar forms when the skin is damaged or cut and then heals over again with replacement tissue. Any skin damage due to injury or disease can result in scarring, for example burns, acne, chickenpox or surgery.

The extent of the scarring depends on how badly the initial damage to the tissue is, although skin colour, age, an infection or an unhealthy lifestyle can contribute to how well the skin heals.

Those with severe scarring may chose to have scar revision treatment in order to reduce the appearance of scars. Although treatment does not completely remove the scar it can make them much less visible and reduce any tightness it may cause.

What does treatment involve?

There are several types of scar treatment depending on the type of scar and the extent of the damage. Mr Richard offers surgery or dermabrasion. He works closely with Dr Victor Sagoo, a cosmetic dermatologist, and when appropriate, Dr Sagoo can provide laser treatments – often very effective for reducing mild scarring such as acne.

Scar revision surgery is usually performed as a day-case procedure under local anaesthetic. In order to reduce the size of the scar it may be cut out completely and the new wound closed carefully. Alternatively, the scar may be rearranged or removed and then replaced with a skin graft from another area of the body.

What to expect post surgery?

> Light dressing is applied.
> Stitches are usually removed from the facial area 3 to 4 days after surgery and 5-7 days from other areas of the body.
> Most people can resume normal activities after surgery although it is recommended that you avoid activities that may stretch the new scar. The location and extent of surgery required will also determine any restrictions on physical activities.
> Avoid exposure to the sun several months. Cover the area or use sunblock to avoid the scar from permanently colouring as it heals.

What are the risks?

Common side effects:
> The scar cannot be completely removed so expectations must be realistic.
> As the area that has been operated on heals it may look worse at first because the skin has been aggravated. The final result will become apparent gradually and may not take full effect until a year after surgery.

As with any operation problems may arise with an unexpected reaction to the anesthetic, excessive bleeding, blood clots or infection. Complications can occur during or after the procedure.

Risks specifically related to scar revision surgery include:
> Scar recurrence
> Separation of the wound.

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