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What are the different kinds of scars?

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery

There are four main types of scars that may occur after a wound or postsurgical. 

1. Keloid. A keloid is a thickened scar in which there is overgrowth of scar tissue and collagen beyond the borders of the original scar. These scars when surgically excised can become progressively worsened. Therefore, it is very important to distinguish from the No. 2 hypertrophic scar.

2. Hypertrophic scars can be excised and made thinner. They have low incidents of recurrence and certainly do not outgrow their surgical borders.

3. Discoloration. Hyperpigmentation versus hypopigmentation. Hyperpigmented scars may occur in especially patients with increased skin tone, African American, Eurasian and Middle Eastern. These patients may increase darkness to the scars and repeated excision may make these incisions even worse.  Hypopigmentation is the opposite with reduced melanin in the scar which can cause a blanching or a bleaching effect to the scar. This can look especially poor on African American patients.

4. Widespread scars. During increased tension after a surgical procedure the edges of the wound edges may pull apart and create a widespread scar. This can be reduced by proper surgical closure in layers and steri-strips to reapproximate the epidermal and dermal edges. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.