Scars, while usually not a medical concern, can be unsightly and cosmetically unappealing. Many people choose to pursue treatment to fade the appearance of scars, including undergoing scar-removal surgery. If you choose surgery, do research to find the right doctor, and take steps to prepare yourself before the procedure and to promote proper healing after scar-removal surgery.
Scar-removal surgery is a procedure done to remove the fibrous tissue that comprises a scar. According to the Southwester Medical Center, surgery removes the scar and connects the remaining skin together with stitches. Depending on the size of the scar, skin grafts from other parts of the body may be needed to close the wound. Scar removal is sometimes done for cosmetic reasons but can also be performed if medical problems with the scar arise. These problems include the scar interfering with movement or function, or if it becomes thicker and changes color.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends researching a surgeon to ensure that he is board certified, operates at an accredited medical facility and has experience in scar removal. Once you find a good surgeon, schedule a consultation. During this time, your doctor will examine the scar, guide you through the process, decide the best treatment and answer any questions you have about the procedure. He may also ask about your expectations and the possible risks with the procedure.
In preparation for the surgery, you may be asked to get a physical evaluation and lab testing. Medication may be prescribed or your current medication may be altered. If you smoke, stop well in advance of the procedure and avoid taking aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs that can increase bleeding.
After the scar is removed, the wound is closed with stitches and wrapped in a light dressing. Following the procedure, symptoms may include swelling, discoloration and discomfort for one to two weeks. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that most people return to normal activity within a few days. However, doctors usually recommend avoiding physical activity, as it can stretch and widen the new scar.
After the procedure, avoid sun exposure for several months. If you experience long-term joint stiffening, you may need physical therapy. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, scars cannot be completely removed, but surgical removal can greatly improve their appearance. It may take several months to get your desired results, as the new scar heals and fades. However, the results will be permanent.