Question

Skin Injury

What treatments can reduce the appearance of scars?

A Answers (1)

  • AStuart Linder, MD, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, answered
    There are several medical procedures available to help reduce the appearance of scars:
    Laser Surgery & Resurfacing - The redness of scars may be
    reduced by treatment with a vascular laser. It has been
    theorised that removing layers of skin with a carbon dioxide
    laser may help flatten scars, although this treatment is still
    experimental. Steroid injections - A long term course of steroid injections under
    medical supervision, into the scar may help flatten and soften
    the appearance of keloid or hypertrophic scars. The steroid is
    injected into the scar itself; since very little is absorbed into
    the blood stream, side effects of this treatment are minor. This
    treatment is repeated at 4-6 week intervals. Pressure garments - These should be used only under
    supervision by a medical professional. They are most often
    used for burn scars that cover a large area, this treatment is
    only effective on recent scars. Radiotherapy - Low-dose, superficial radiotherapy, is used to
    prevent re-occurrence of severe keloid and hypertrophic
    scarring. It is usually effective, but only used in extreme cases
    due to the risk of long-term side effects. Dermabrasion - Dermabrasion involves the removal of the surface
    of the skin with specialist equipment and usually involves a
    general anaesthetic. It is useful with raised scars, but is less
    effective when the scar sunken below the surrounding skin. Collagen injections - Collagen injections can be used to raise
    sunken scars to the level of surrounding skin. Its effects are
    however temporary, and it needs to be regularly repeated.
    There is also a risk in some people of an allergic reaction. Other treatments - There are also a number of gel sheets available
    which are usually made from silicone, which can help to flatten
    and soften raised scars if worn regularly. Silicone, pressure,
    occlusion, topical cortisone and vitamin E have all been shown
    to decrease the collagen that forms scars. Patches and pads
    help but are unsightly so people tend to quit. A popular
    treatment among plastic surgeons is Scarfade, a silicone gel
    that improves the appearance of scars and prevents abnormal
    or excessive scar formation. Also chemical peels performed by
    a dermatologist using glycolic acid can be used to minimize
    acne scarring.
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