Injuries and surgery can leave prominent scars, which can bother people for years to come. Depending on where the scar is, it may cause distress or embarrassment over their physical appearance. The most common reason for prominent scars is that the skin has not healed properly. Is there a solution? Esteemed plastic surgeon Mr Paul Tulley has the answers.
Initially, all scars are a bright red colour. They tend to be brighter and more visible on younger people and those with fair skin and red hair. As they heal, scars usually flatten and fade, although this can take up to 18 months. If the scar is still prominent after this, it may be worth seeking treatment.
Treating prominent scars
There are a few different options for scar treatment. The best option varies according to the case – the treatment your doctor will recommend will depend on the causes and on how prominent the scar is.
Conservative treatment usually involves using a silicone cream or gel, which is massaged into the scar, softening and flattening it to make it less prominent.
Excision, whereby the scar is surgically removed and then the skin is re-stitched, may be recommended if the scar was caused by an infected wound or a sub-par repair of the initial wound. Once it re-heals, the scar should be much less obvious.
Other procedures include changing the direction of the scar. In the case of large, complex scars, a number of procedures may be required to remove the scar little by little over a period of several months.
Of course, the ideal scenario would be not to have prominent scarring in the first place. Before any surgical procedure, careful planning is essential, and the surgeon should try to optimise scar healing as part of this planning process. However, factors such as infections or the body’s individual response to the operation can impact how well it heals.
Mr Paul Tulley discusses with each patient how they can look after the area around the incision during their recovery period.
Book a consultation with Mr Tulley at his Top Doctors profile.