Poorly healed wounds and remaining scars can cause a lot of psychological problems, which may lead to low self-esteem that means difficulties in everyday life.
You do not need to be a psychologist to understand that even becoming aware of possible treatment methods can make patients feel better. There are several new treatments that improve the look of both old and new scars. We asked Dr. Greg Pataki plastic surgeon about them.
„Wound healing is a complicated process. When the wound penetrates the dermis, scar formation happens” – says the doctor. „Ideal scars after plastic surgery are thin and soft, and their color and structure is the same as of the surrounding healthy skin. So they are hardly noticeable. Scars of a previous surgery or injury not always meet these aesthetic requirements. There are many types of surgery-free Scar Treatment, and if these are not suitable for the best results or do not help, your plastic surgeon will offer the possibility of Scar Revision.
How Can a Wound Become „Ugly”?
Often the lack of tissue-saving techniques causes the problem. According to plastic surgery guidelines, a tension-free suture line is a precondition for a proper scar formation. The direction of the scar has to be in accordance with the power lines of the skin. Multiple layer suture line, premium quality suture materials, tissue-saving surgical techniques are really important along with tissue-saving medical equipment and perfect timing of suture removal.
Scar Correction: When and How?
Scar Revision is usually performed under local anesthesia, but it depends on the size of the scar. Completely finished scar healing takes at least six months after plastic surgery. In ideal cases, just a thin and barely visible line remains. Using sunscreen lotions is extremely important in the first months of scar formation. The ideal timing of Scar Revision is either autumn or spring.
Are There „Perfect Scars”?
In spite of all efforts of the plastic surgeon, perfect scarring is sometimes impossible. In case of certain body parts, skin types, or in the area of active muscles (eg. on the back, legs, shoulders) scars are often larger and more prominent than on less active areas. The healing process is slower in older age, while young skin is more prone to form thicker, overgrown scars. The plastic surgeon will consider the possibility of Scar Revision with all these in mind. The most important is the application of tissue-saving techniques. There are some cases when we do not recommend Scar Removal surgery, but mostly we decide to carry out the operation, from which a better aesthetic result can be expected.
Conservative Treatment or Surgery?
The solution is different for years or decades old scars (eg. after cesarean section) and more recent ones (eg. a dog bite). Many over the counter products are available in pharmacies and herbal shops, but they are rarely clinically proven to be effective. Thanks to their moisturizing ingredients, many of them are acceptable as an adjunct therapy for normal scars.
The use of silicone gel patch is suggested by a number of leading specialists worldwide, and our personal experience is also very good. These gentle treatment methods have virtually no side effects. It reduces the surface tension of the skin, moisturizes, and keeps a constant temperature – creating an optimal environment for wound healing.
For hypertrophic (thick, pulled apart) scars, we recommend the combination of silicone gel, silicone patches and compression. For keloid (overgrown) scars, steroid therapy, radiation, cryotherapy, or laser treatment can be effective.
Scar Treatment With Fat Transfer
It is scientifically proven that fat tissue from one part of the body have regenerating, even rejuvenating effect, which is also beneficial for Scar Treatment. This is because of the adult stem cells in the connective tissues. Adherent, hard scars has often become softer and more beautiful after injecting fat under them.
The Latest Technology
Scar-free wound healing is an intensely researched topic with very encouraging results. A new synthetic substance is tested in Hungary as well, which may lead to embryonic-like wound healing with less scars. This procedure can minimize the size and prominence of the scars in the future.
(From the Hungarian women's magazine Kiskegyed.)