Scar revision

About the procedure

Scar revision refers to a variety of techniques that are used by plastic surgeons to give the best scar appearance that is possible, or to improve the function of a body part that is inhibited by scar tissue formation. After a wound or surgical procedure, the site of the wound always appears different than the surrounding skin. This occurs because the complex process of wound healing, which, while highly effective, does not return the site of the former wound or surgery to its former strength. Occasionally, the scar can look darker or lighter than the surrounding skin. The scar can be raised or stretched, and may be irritated or itchy. The skin surrounding the scar may be at different levels as well, which can highlight the scar appearance rather than hide it.

In addition, scars themselves are different and have different causes.  Burn scars, surgery scars, keloid scars, and hypertrophic scars can all have different causes and have different appearances as well.  Since scars can be caused by different factors, in order to revise the scar, Dr. Hirsch will use a variety of techniques including direct excision of the scar and re-closure, z-plasty local tissue rearrangements, skin grafting, local flap reconstruction, and free flap reconstruction. Occasionally, steroid injections may be useful too. Dr. Hirsch will individualize his treatment plan, and during the consultation he will discuss the treatment plan for your specific scar so that you have the best scar sppearance that is possible for your situation.

Depending on what procedure is performed to revise the scar, recovery after scar revision can be very minimal (such as in an outpatient procedure) or require a hospital stay (like after a free flap reconstruction). Likewise, the levels of pain/discomfort and return to activity will depend on the specific procedure that is performed.

Frequently asked questions about scar revision:

Does insurance cover scar revision procedures?

In some cases, insurance carriers will cover scar revision procedures, especially if the scar is causing a functional limitation. In other cases, insurance carriers will not cover scar revision procedures. Dr. Hirsch and his staff will work with you to determine if your scar revision procedure is covered by your insurance company.