By Academic Dermatology
November 21, 2014
Category: Scars
Tags: scars  
Scars form as a result of the body trying to heal and replace lost or damaged skin. This cluster of fibrous tissue can occur anywhere on the body and is often the result of an injury, a burn, acne or even surgery. Once a scar appears, it is permanent, even though it may become less visible over time. There are several different types of scars that can form:


Keloid scars: This grouping of scar tissue is often red or darker in nature and forms when scar tissue grows excessively, resulting in these smooth growths. While keloids can grow on any part of the body, they are often found on the chest and shoulders. Smaller keloids may be treated with cryotherapy.

Hypertrophic scars: These scars look similar to keloids but are lighter in color and more common. Steroid injections may be used to reduce swelling associated with this type of scarring.

Facial scars: Some facial scars only cause aesthetic problems while others are severe enough to affect facial expressions. Acne is often to blame for facial scarring.

Contractures: Any burns that damage the dermis will result in scarring known as contractures. These scars cause skin tightening, making it hard to move. These scars may even be deep enough to affect nerves and muscles.

Scars can be removed through several options:

  • Laser resurfacing
  • Punch graft
  • Autologous fat transfer

Laser resurfacing

During laser resurfacing your dermatologist will utilize a high-powered light to remove the damaged skin, visibly reducing the scar’s appearance. Laser resurfacing is an outpatient procedure that takes only a couple hours to complete.

Punch graft

During skin grafting, a thin layer of skin from another part of the body is removed and placed over the scarred region. This procedure is often recommended for patients with extensive scarring that covers a large amount of the body.

Autologous fat transfer

This procedure uses fat from the patient’s body to raise depressed scars. Fat cells are removed via liposuction from areas like the thighs or navel, properly cleaned and then injected into the scar.

First, one of our dermatologists will examine the scar to determine the best treatment. We will also discuss the procedure, anesthesia, cost and post-operative care with the patient. For those looking to reduce the appearance of their scars without surgery may find laser resurfacing or dermabrasion a better treatment option.

After surgery most patients will experience some minor discomfort, particularly around the face. Inflammation, redness and bruising are common post-operative symptoms. Follow any post-care instructions including cold compresses and restrictions to certain daily activities. While scar removal will never fully remove the scar, you will notice a visible difference.