In addition to being the largest organ in the body, the skin also functions as a protective barrier for the internal organs. In this defensive capacity, the skin is often subjected to harsh environmental elements, putting it at a heightened risk of sustaining injuries. When a wound or trauma to the skin takes place, the body’s natural response is the production of scar tissue.
Scar tissue is a fibrous tissue that contains high levels of collagen—the protein responsible for stimulating the production of new, healthy skin cells to repair the damage sustained from the injury. A visible scar forms when collagen levels at the wound site surpass the requirements of the damaged tissue.
Scars vary significantly in terms of location, size, scope and depth; however, all scars typically fall under one of four general categories:
- Contractures: occur when a wound crosses a joint, or when there is a significant amount of tissue loss (as with a severe burn) and the skin and underlying tissue pull together during the healing process, causing the skin to contract and restricting movement in and around the area adjacent to the injury
- Hypertropic Scars: often present as red, raised, and potentially painful clusters of scar tissue that form around the wound site. Hypertropic scars may expand in width over time, and can be darker in color (hyperpigmented) or lighter in color (hypopigmented) than the patient’s healthy skin tone
- Discoloration and Surface Irregularities: scars in this category generally do not cause physical pain, nor do they have a detrimental impact on the body’s ability to function normally. Acne scars, as well as scars resulting from previous surgery or minor injury fall under this category.
- Keloid Scars: typically larger than hypertropic scars, keloid scars often extend beyond the edges of the original wound, and have the potential to pucker, or to become itchy or painful.
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Scar revision procedures are designed to conceal the appearance of a scar, helping it to blend harmoniously with the surrounding skin tone and texture. The specific technique employed during a scar revision procedure depends upon which of the aforementioned categories the scar falls into.
At The Virginia Institute for Surgical Arts, located in Chantilly, Virginia, esteemed facial plastic surgeon Dr. Trang Vo-Nguyen (Dr. V) employs her extensive facial surgery expertise and meticulous surgical techniques to help her patients achieve optimal results from their scar revision procedures. Dr. V works tirelessly to restore full functionality to the injured area, while simultaneously improving the aesthetic appearance of the wound site and minimizing the prominence of the scar.
SCAR REVISION PROCEDURAL DETAILS
During your initial consultation, Dr. V will assess the size, severity, type, and location of your scar to determine which of the following scar revision technique (or combination of techniques) should be utilized to improve the appearance and condition of the scar:
- Surgical Treatments: best suited for deeper scars and for scars that impair the patient’s mobility, surgical scar revision techniques may include pharmaceutical tissue substitutes, complex flap closure, or tissue expansion (used as an alternative to skin grafts)
- Surface Treatments: these treatments function by minimizing uneven pigmentation and softening surface irregularities through the removal (exfoliation) of the outermost skin layers, or by altering the surface of the skin and promoting the growth of healthy skin cells at the wound site. Microdermabrasion, skin bleaching agents, laser/light therapy, and chemical peels are examples of treatments in this category.
- Injectable Treatments: steroidal-based compounds that are periodically injected at the wound site in order to reduce collagen build-up and improve the appearance of the raised scar tissue
- Topical Treatments: best suited for very minor wounds, this category includes gels, tapes, or external compression to facilitate wound healing and closure
CONTACT THE VIRGINIA INSTITUTE FOR SURGICAL ARTS
In order to ensure that you achieve exceptional results from your scar revision procedure, it is important that you select a physician with a strong working knowledge of facial anatomy and the intricate structures of the face, such as Dr. Trang Thuy Vo-Nguyen (Dr. V). Dr. V is double board certified in the field of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and through her extensive training, research, and achievements, she has built a reputation as one of the leading facial plastic surgeons in the nation.
Dr. V understands the importance of having well-informed patients, and will take the time to explain all of your scar revision options and procedural details, so you can feel completely comfortable about your surgery. If you are interested in learning more about having your scar revision performed by Dr. V, please contact The Virginia Institute for Surgical Arts today. We look forward to speaking with you, and to scheduling your initial consultation with Dr. V.
Please call 703-327-8200 or Click Here to Schedule a Consultation.