Surgical scar revision

Surgical scar revision means operating on your scar to improve the way it looks, feels and moves. This would include cutting out the scar and re-aligning the way the scar sits, changing tension or shape to make it softer, or addressing volume or pigment issues.

What is scar revision surgery?

  • Scars can be treated in lots of ways – scar revision surgery is when the scar is operated on (cut) to reduce the size, change the direction or release tightness in the scar.
  • If you have a stretched, tight or indented scar then surgery could help to improve the scar. 
  • Surgical scar revision can make the scar look smaller and less obvious, and feel softer and less tight. 
  • Sometimes injection of some steroid (anti-inflammation medication) directly to the scar, on its own or combined with surgery, can help reduce the scar size and symptoms as well. 

What does it involve?

  • So that the scar revision surgery isn’t uncomfortable, the skin over and under the scar needs to be numb (local anaesthetic cream or injection) or you need to be asleep (general anaesthetic).  
  • Scar revision surgery involves cutting the scar and then carefully arranging and stitching it in a way to make it feel and look better. 
  • Most scar revision surgery is very quick and performed under local anaesthetic injection or a day-case general anaesthetic – afterwards a light dressing is applied and you go home. 

What happens after the treatment?

  • There will be a light dressing on the scar for 7 days, then you usually return to the Scar Clinic 5-7 days later for a wound check and consultation with your surgeon. 
  • Sometimes the improved scar will settle quicker with laser after the surgery – this is something the Scar Clinic will discuss with you at your follow up appointments. 

Are there any risks with the laser treatment?

Scar surgery is generally very safe, but as with any surgical procedure there are some risks which are: 

  • Anaesthetic risks – these will depend on the type of anaesthetic needed – there is a risk of local skin allergic reaction to numbing cream; or an allergic reaction to the local anaesthetic injection, steroid injection or general anaesthetic and medicines used during the procedure. 
  • Bleeding – any cut into the skin involves a small amount of bleeding, If the scar is small this risk is low, if the scar is larger then the risk is larger as well and very rarely excessive bleeding requires further treatment with surgery to stop the bleeding or blood transfusion. 
  • Infection – any cut into the skin or scar gives a risk of infection. This risk is minimised by the use of sterile techniques and good surgical tissue handling, however if it occurs it may delay wound healing and risk more scarring, require further treatment including antibiotics or additional surgery.  
  • Pain and discomfort – whilst all possible measures are made to minimise discomfort, the anaesthetic, procedure and post-operative period may be uncomfortable despite pain relief. 
  • Numbness/Tingling – any cut into the skin means cuts into the tiny nerves which supply the sensation to that skin. This usually settles and improves over time but most scars feel different to normal skin and the scar created by scar revision surgery can feel numb and tingly for a while, and in some cases this can be permanent.