Non-Acne Scars2023-07-06T01:29:05-07:00


Non-Acne Scars

Non-Acne Scars

How we can help you with all your non-acne scar needs.

Non-Acne Scar Types, Procedures, & Treatments

Get to know some of the Non-Acne Scar Types, The procedures that are associated with each and how our treatments can help you resolve unwanted scars from pregnancy, surgical procedures, accidents, and more.

Non Acne Scar Types

Atrophic Scars

Atrophic scars refer to the pitted scar-like marks on a person’s skin. They originate when the skin fails to regenerate the tissue naturally, therefore leaving imbalanced scarring. This therapeutic challenge is a permanent result of acne vulgaris. The most common types of atrophic scars are:

  • Ice pick
  • Boxcar
  • Rolling

What causes atrophic scars?

Atrophic scars result from the loss of collagen during the skin’s inflammatory healing process. The localized degradation of collagen and subcutaneous fat causes the affected area to dip below the level of healthy skin tissue. The type of atrophic scar that tends to form varies for each person. Here are the most common causes of atrophic scarring:

Keloid Scars

A Keloid scar is enlarged and raised scar mark that can form anywhere on the skin. Keloids are usually of pink, red, skin color and darker than the surrounding skin. Often, they appear to be much larger than the original wound. Keloids are generally not harmful to health, however, cause cosmetic concerns.

Keloid scars are a type of hypertrophic scar that extends beyond the boundaries of the original wound. They have the following characteristics:

  • Shiny luster
  • Rubbery texture
  • Raised
  • Hairless
  • Can grow past borders over time

Hypertrophic Scars

A hypertrophic scar is a thick raised scar developed on areas of high skin tension. It is an abnormal wound healing response that commonly occurs following diseases, burns, surgical incisions, and other forms of skin trauma. Although they aren’t life threatening, they can be a bit itchy and painful if left untreated.

Trauma to the skin can sometimes leave behind raised, rubbery scars called hypertrophic scars. Unlike atrophic acne scars, hypertrophic scars result from overproduction of collagen as opposed to the depletion of collagen. Like rolling scars, hypertrophic scars usually resolve over time but do require treatment depending on their severity. Hypertrophic scars have the following characteristics:

  • Shiny luster
  • Rubbery texture
  • Raised
  • Hairless
  • Stays within border

Contracture Scars

Contracture scars form when a portion of your skin has been lost due to physical or chemical damage. The net loss of tissue leads to the pulling off not only the surrounding healthy skin but also ligaments, tendons, and muscles, depending on the severity and location of the injury. Extreme cases of contracture scarring can severely impede the range of motion around the neck, shoulder, elbows, and knees. Thus, contracture scars pose both functional and cosmetic concerns to the patient.

Surgical Scars

Postsurgical scarring is a natural and unavoidable consequence of wound healing following injury to the skin. Unnatural elevation, pigmentary changes, and irregular textural appearances of scars often present aesthetic concerns to patients. While scars usually fade on their own, more severe cases of scarring may require surgical- and non-surgical approaches to achieve optimal correction. Here at the Scar Healing Institute, our team of expert dermatologists is trained in the best surgical scar revision techniques as well as minimally invasive energy-based and non-energy-based treatment.

Traumatic Scars

Traumatic scars are the raised marks on your body developed as a part of the natural healing process of lost or damaged skin after a major injury. Based on the location and size of the injury, a traumatic wound heals in different ways. It can range from minor scarring to severe tightening and thickening of the skin. Also, obstruct regular, normal movements causing deformity.

Burn Scars

Burns can occur on the skin when a particular area of a person’s body comes in contact with something too hot. For instance, fire, boiling water, scorching sun rays, electricity, or chemicals form severe burn injuries. After the wounds get healed, a thick, discolored contracture burn scar is formed on the area.

Piercing Scars

Also known as hypergranulation tissue, hypertrophic scarring is an excess of skin tissue that forms around a piercing during the healing process. These scars are the result of too much collagen being produced.

Scar Healing

Scar Healing begins at the start of when you decide your skin needs to start the repair process

Scar Management

Start the post-procedural process of managing your skincare regimen with us and watch the healing continue

Advanced Skincare

Find out about one of our many advanced skincare procedures to help alleviate any type of skin issues

Punch Excision

A quick and painless procedure to completely remove your ice pick scars with minimal downtime.

Laser Treatment

A personalized chemical formulation to melt your acne scars and rejuvenate healthy skin.

Steroid Injections

Steroid and/or peptide injections to calm your active acne before starting scar treatment.

Non-Acne Scar Treatments Available
at Scar Healing Institute

While our proprietary phase system is highly customizable and flexible for patients, we recognize that patients may benefit from other procedures as well. Explore these treatment options below and see if they may be right for you!

CROSS Treatment

Typical Chemical Treatments

Typical chemical treatments used for atrophic and macular scars include the application of Jessner’s peel, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and enzyme peels. These peels are generally applied across your entire face at a low concentration to cause inflammation. This controlled inflammatory process weakens scar tissue that tethers the superficial layer of skin to the subdermal layers.

What is the CROSS Treatment?

A newer technique called “chemical reconstruction of skin scars” (CROSS) has risen in popularity as an effective treatment for atrophic scars. In this method, a high concentration of chemical or acid is focally applied to the base of each scar, rather than a lower concentration applied across the entire face. The meticulous application of acid causes local inflammation in scarred tissue, leading to the destruction of scar tissue and the formation of new collagen fibers. The scar tissue lifts back up towards the level of your normal healthy skin. More importantly, we only target the base of scar tissue, leaving healthy tissue unaffected by the strong acid.

Our CROSS treatment uses a specific formula specially mixed in our office. The main component, phenol, is a chemical compound that is highly effective at remodeling scar tissue. Phenol is a safer and effective alternative to other chemicals used in CROSS, such as TCA, which may cause widening or deepening of scars. Phenol has been shown in several outside studies to reliably penetrate deeper into the skin compared to other chemicals. We have further evaluated the effectiveness and safety after refining the application methods. As a result, our phenol mixture is able to travel deeper into the dermal layers and break down tougher scars. 

What is the recovery process for the CROSS Treatment?

The overall recovery process is painless. However, you can expect reddening of the skin and scab formation on top of your scars. Over the next 1-2 weeks, these scabs will fall off naturally and reddening will subside. In addition, try to avoid wetting the affected areas for the next 48 hours to allow the phenol to properly function.

Chemical peels may increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. As a result, part of the recovery process for CROSS treatment involves staying indoors and avoiding as much sunlight as possible for the next two weeks. If you must stay outside for prolonged periods of time, we recommend that patients apply sunscreen to their face and wear a hat.

Our CROSS treatment uses a specific formula specially mixed in our office. The main component, phenol, is a chemical compound that is highly effective at remodeling scar tissue. Phenol is a safer and effective alternative to other chemicals used in CROSS, such as TCA, which may cause widening or deepening of scars. Phenol has been shown in several outside studies to reliably penetrate deeper into the skin compared to other chemicals. We have further evaluated the effectiveness and safety after refining the application methods. As a result, our phenol mixture is able to travel deeper into the dermal layers and break down tougher scars. 

When do I start noticing results from the CROSS Treatment?

Although the recovery process takes only 1-2 weeks, reduced visibility of your scars can take up to several months to become noticeable. As you heal, we will assess the need for other treatments such as subcision and Sculptra, which work in conjunction with CROSS treatment to achieve your desired results.

Are there any side effects from the CROSS Treatment?

Rare complications of phenol include temporary cardiac arrhythmias, hyper- and hypopigmentation of the skin, as well as deepening of the scars. However, careful and minimal application of phenol minimizes the risks. During your consultation, we will go over the potential risks and benefits, as well as the actions we take to minimize all potential complications.

Collagen Stimulators

What are Collagen Stimulators?

Collagen stimulators are injectables that contain the chemical “poly-L-lactic acid”, a compound that promotes collagen production. This is an effective treatment for skin that has gradually lost collagen over time, which results in wrinkling, sagging, and thinning of the skin. This boost in collagen production restores the volume and elasticity in our skin, giving skin its youthful and full appearance. Because many types of scars are characterized by the local depletion of collagen around the scarred tissue, collagen stimulators are highly effective.

How do collagen stimulators work?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and is the substance that holds the body together. For the skin, collagen provides a scaffold or framework for healthy skin to rest on, giving the appearance of a smooth surface. However, inflammation associated with active acne can result in dermal collagen and fat loss. As the body resolves active breakouts, collagen is no longer present to support the skin, which contributes to the appearance of atrophic or pitted scars.

Once scars are lifted with CROSS and subcision, collagen stimulators can be injected. By promoting the body’s own collagen production, the collagen that once supported the pitted areas are replenished. This leads to the maintenance of the lifted areas and prevents scars from lowering again.

The procedure itself is painless. The collagen stimulator comes in a vial that we will premix with an anesthetic to make the procedure comfortable for the patient. The patient will also be given ice before, during, and after the procedure to further reduce any pain or excessive bleeding.

When do I start noticing results after using collagen stimulators and how long do they last?

Upon treatment, your body requires several months to fully boost its collagen production and produce noticeable results. This is because our fibroblasts, our collagen-producing cells, need time to develop a physiological memory to continually produce more collagen. Moreover, patients will find that the additional natural collagen has longer lasting effects – up to 5 years – than synthetic filler injections that have immediate effects on appearance but only last 2 years. To maximize results, patients usually require several rounds of collagen stimulator injections.

Are there any side effects from collagen stimulators?

Immediately following treatment, patients may experience bruising, soreness, and swelling where the collagen stimulator was injected. This typically resolves within a week of treatment. In the meantime, facial massages, icing, and avoiding UV light from the sun are essential for recovery. During your consultation and procedure, we will inform you of detailed post care instructions that will help you achieve your desired results.

What is the cost of collagen stimulator injections?

The cost of treatment depends on the severity of the patient’s scars. Deep scars that cover multiple areas likely require more vials and rounds of collagen stimulators for patients to observe substantial results. 


What is Subcision?

Subcision is a process in which a hypodermic needle is inserted into the skin to manually break fibrotic strands that tether the scar tissue to the sub-dermal layer. Hypodermic needles of various sizes are used to mechanically break scar tissue residing in the superficial, middle, or deep layers.

How does Subcision work?

Subcision is an outpatient procedure that is usually accomplished within a few hours. A local anesthetic is injected to numb the treatment area. In addition, the patient is given an anti-anxiety medication to make them more comfortable during the procedure. In addition, a special tumescent anesthesia mixture is administered to further numb the area and also prevent excessive bleeding. During this time, a hypodermic needle is inserted into the skin and moved back-and-forth and side-to-side to untether the scar tissue from the underlying basement layer. This allows scarred areas to lift to the level of normal skin. This form of “controlled trauma” also stimulates collagen production, which provides support underneath the scarred areas.

Subcision can be performed in several layers: superficial-layer, mid-layer, and deep-layer. 

  • Superficial-layer subcision: the skin is infiltrated with a 25-gauge needle right below the epidermis. 
  • Mid-layer subcision: a blunt cannula (usually a 22-gauge cannula slightly larger in diameter than a 25-gauge needle) is used to penetrate deeper into the dermis. 
  • Deep-layer subcision, a special metal tool, called the Taylor Liberator, is inserted into the deepest parts of the dermis to separate the toughest scars from the underlying tissue. 

Since mid-layer and deep-layer subcision are more invasive than superficial-layer subcision, an “introducer”-needle is inserted into the skin to create a small opening for the cannula or Taylor Liberator to be inserted. 

How do I know which layers of my skin need to be subcised?

To determine how many layers of subcision need to be performed, we have to examine the depth and severity of your scars. Very mild cases will only need superficial-layer subcision, which only requires local anesthetic injections, whereas more severe cases will require superficial and mid-layer subcision or subcision in all three layers. For these patients, a tumescent anesthetic mixture will be administered.

Cannula Subcision

Cannula-based subcision is a more robust and safer alternative to needle-based subcision. In this technique, a 70-mm long 18-gauge cannula is inserted subdermally to break apart the fibrotic tethers. Cannulas present less risk to deep neurovasculature structures due to their blunt tips. Additionally, the length of the cannula enables subcision through a single perforation site as opposed to multiple entry points required of needle-based subcision. Cannula-based subcision can be combined with Taylor Liberator subcision to correct deeper atrophic scars.

Taylor Liberator Subcision

Deep-layer subcision typically uses a special surgical tool called the Taylor Liberator. The Taylor Liberator is a long, blunt instrument with notches at the end which facilitate the breaking of fibrous bands that tether the scars down. To perform deep-layer subcision, a small incision is first made near the hairline to insert the Taylor Liberator into the deepest layers of the dermis (the superficial subcutaneous plane). As the tool is moved back and forth, the deepest and robust scars are transected. Deep layer subcision using the Taylor Liberator is a highly effective technique that allows for complete untethering of fibrotic bands and long term results when performed correctly.

Which type of patients are suited for Taylor Liberator subcision?

Because scars can vary in depth, deep-layer subcision using the Taylor Liberator is generally most appropriate when patients have scars that are tethered to the deeper layers below the skin. Patients with boxcar scars or rolling scars typically benefit the most from deep-layer subcision.

What is the recovery process like for Taylor Liberator/deep layer subcision?

Swelling generally dissipates within the first 24 hours. After 48 hours, the face can be washed normally, and patients can generally return to work with little bruising. Because deep layer subcision with the Taylor Liberator is a more invasive technique, sensory disturbance may be observed. Any disturbances usually completely resolve within three months of the procedure.

What is the recovery process like for subcision?

The speed of recovery will depend on how many layers of subcision the patient received. Generally, more layers translates to a longer recovery time. Overall, however, during the initial 48 hours after the procedure, it is normal for patients to experience some swelling and soreness in the treatment areas. A stronger painkiller can be prescribed to make recovery more comfortable if OTC medications are insufficient.

Patients should also expect to observe scabbing at the sites where the hypodermic needles or cannulas were inserted. It is important that patients do not apply make-up or get the area wet for 48 hours and do not pick at the scabs as this can hinder the healing process. Additionally, applying lightening cream 72 hours after the procedure and completely avoiding UV exposure for 2-3 weeks are other required precautions enforced to avoid hyperpigmentation. Patients can expect a full recovery within 1-2 weeks.

When do I start noticing results after subcision?

Although the recovery process takes only 1-2 weeks, reduced visibility of scars will take several months to become fully noticeable as the body continues to heal. In the meantime, other procedures, notably Sculptra, can be performed. This can further enhance results in the months to come.

Is subcision an essential part of the Phase System?

Subcision is a vital component of our phases. Although patients can already expect reduced scarring from CROSS, chemicals in isolation may not fully untether the scar tissue and instead serve to weaken or partially damage it. On the other hand, using subcision alone may not be sufficient due to strong scar tissue being resistant to manual abrasion. Subcision and CROSS work synergistically to eradicate scar tissue and reduce the appearance of pitted areas.

Are there any side effects from subcision?

In very rare cases, infection, ruptured blood vessels, and hyperpigmentation can occur. Infections can be quickly resolved with antibiotics. Bruises caused by damage to blood vessels will usually resolve within a week. Lastly, temporary post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is known to be a risk to people of color. Usually this can be avoided by putting patients on a strict lightening cream regimen before and after the treatment. During your consultation, we will go over the potential risks and benefits, as well as the actions we take to minimize all potential complications.

What is the cost for subcision?

The cost of subcision is highly dependent on the number of areas and the depth of scar tissue. Deeper layers require more invasive techniques and thus will cost more. If some areas of your face are not as extensively scarred as others, we may combine multiple areas into one – for example, your two temples could be counted as one temple. During your consultation, we will discuss how many areas and layers should undergo subcision.

Laser Resurfacing

What is a Laser Treatment?

Lasers are high-energy beams that are directed at the skin to promote neocollagenesis and remove dead skin. Lasers can come in a variety of wavelengths and intensities, which correlate to their depth of penetration and remodeling effects.

What are the different kinds and uses for lasers?

At our clinic, we use the Fotona4D laser, which has both non-ablative (Nd:YAG) and ablative (Er:YAG) settings. Nd:YAG lasers emit shorter wavelengths of concentrated light, which allows them to penetrate deeper into the skin to target veins, hair follicles, and melanin, where they reside. On the other hand, Er: YAG lasers emit longer wavelengths of light, specifically infrared light, to ablate and thus remodel the top layers of skin. Er:YAG lasers are thus more applicable for scar treatment.

Are lasers effective for my scars?

The efficacy of laser treatment depends heavily on the type and severity of your scarring.

For atrophic scars, visible improvement can be seen with ER:YAG laser treatment. However, during the process, healthy skin is being “sanded down” by the laser to match the level of the atrophic scars. As a result, our firm belief is to avoid laser treatments as a first line treatment for atrophic scars. Instead, we believe that laser treatments are best used as a final “touch-up” treatment that smooths out your skin after lifting the scar with other more effective treatments, such as subcision and CROSS.

On the other hand, laser treatments can be effective for patients with non-atrophic scars, notably hypertrophic scars from burns, surgery, or other forms of trauma to the skin. In these cases, we would use a higher ablative Er:YAG setting to remodel the raised skin lesions to flatten them to the level of the surrounding healthy skin. However, in cases where the scar is severely raised and continually growing, as seen with keloid scars, lasers may not be the most viable treatment option. 

To learn more about the above scars mentioned and what treatment options are best, click here.

What are the risks for laser treatment?

Although we use a mild setting for our laser, some risks include temporary redness, swelling, and irritation. In rare cases, infection may occur following treatment. All these risks are mitigated or entirely prevented with careful use and proper aftercare. For people of color, lasers can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. As a countermeasure, patients should avoid UV exposure and apply generous amounts of sunscreen following treatment, especially during the spring and summer months.

How long do the results last for laser treatment?

Patients will start to notice results 3 to 6 months after treatment. Afterwards, the results will persist anywhere between 3 to 5 years. Some patients may need a touch-up during that time period for results to last longer.

What is the cost of laser treatment?

As this is an optional and very last phase of treatment for patients, most will only require one round of laser treatment, but this will vary for every patient. At your consultation and throughout the treatment process, we will discuss laser options depending on how much treatment is required to finalize your scar healing process.

PRP Therapy

What is PRP Therapy?

PRP therapy is a multi-step process that includes the following:

  1. Drawing blood from the patient’s arm vein.
  2. Centrifuging the blood to separate its components into layers, including red blood cells (RBC), platelet-poor plasma (PPP), and platelet-rich plasma (PRP).
  3. Collecting PRP and injecting it into scar tissue site.

Is PRP Therapy for me?

PRP therapy has been widely used in a variety of contexts for the last five decades. More recently, they have become especially popular for treating acne scars due to their aforementioned healing properties.

At our clinic, we do not regularly use PRP therapy for acne scar patients unless absolutely necessary. While PRP therapy can certainly improve their appearance, PRP therapy alone will not untether your acne scars from the underlying tissue. Because of this, your acne scars will still have a noticeably dipped appearance on your face, which our phase system seeks to totally remove. We highly recommend that our patients follow our phase system for treating acne scars before exploring PRP therapy options.

For scar types that are often more hypertrophic, such as keloid or surgical scars, PRP therapy may be a favorable treatment plan. We can combine PRP therapy with our other treatment options, including kenalog injections and laser resurfacing, to further minimize the appearance of your scars. It is best to discuss with our physicians to determine what is the best course of action for you.

What are the risks for PRP therapy?

PRP therapy is an autologous transplantation of your body’s own platelets. In other words, you are your own donor. Therefore, it is impossible for your body to have any kind of immunological response to these injections, as would be the case with allogeneic blood transplants from donors other than yourself.

PRP is also a very minimally invasive procedure, which is another reason it’s preferred over surgery for mild scar cases. If you are afraid of pain during the blood draw and injections, we can apply a local anesthetic to make the procedure more comfortable for you. There is an astronomically low risk that you will get an infection, which could be minimized further with antibiotics.

What is the recovery process like for PRP therapy?

PRP therapy is a very simple procedure consisting of a blood draw and few injections, so little to no downtime is needed. If pain is an issue after a PRP therapy session, we encourage you to use ice to soothe the injection areas and take OTC pain medications. In addition, we always recommend patients to stay out of the sun and avoid harsh scrubbing of the treatment area or using any skin products.

How long will I need to have PRP therapy?

The number of PRP therapy sessions required to see a noticeable difference in your scarring will depend on the severity and location of your scarring. Generally, it takes 3 to 4 weeks for the skin to rejuvenate and undergo neocollagenesis, at which point the patient will begin to notice a difference. However, multiple sessions are often required to maximize results. While some patients can see a difference after one round of PRP therapy, most patients need several rounds of PRP therapy. Again, we recommend going with our phase system to see optimal results and supplementing it with PRP therapy if needed. Most of our patients can improve significantly with our established system without PRP therapy. Further details should be discussed during your consultation with us.

What is the cost of PRP Therapy?

The cost of PRP therapy is based on a variety of factors, including the number and severity of the scars. During your consultation, we will determine these factors and work with you to determine how many sites require treatment.

Anti-Inflammatory Peptide Injections

What are anti-inflammatory peptide injections?

Anti-inflammatory peptides are injectables that are administered directly into active acne to reduce redness and swelling. Because these peptides are strong anti-inflammatory agents, they can also be used to treat both active acne breakouts and hypertrophic and keloid scars, all of which are inflammatory disorders of the skin.

How do peptides work?

Peptides can be mixed with other strong anti-inflammatory agents, such as steroids (or Kenalog). Together, these compounds stunt the body’s natural inflammatory response at the site of injection, effectively reducing redness and/or swelling. This flattens out the raised acne or scar lesions within 4 to 8 hours of treatment. Injections are performed with a very small needle, so no anesthetic or downtime is required.

Are peptides right for me?

People with more severe acne breakouts are the best candidates for peptide injections. Notably, people who have recurrent cystic or nodular acne (painful types of acne that burrow deep into the skin) can benefit most from these injections. 

The same process can be done for hypertrophic and keloid scars. These scars are chronically inflamed lesions that respond well to peptide injections. Because these injections are non-invasive, these are an excellent first-line therapy before surgical procedures are considered.

However, if you are a patient who has a peptide/steroid allergy, then other treatment options, such as manual acne extraction, should be explored. Patients with any active skin infection or disease should also avoid peptide injections until they have resolved their skin condition.

What are the risks for peptide injections?

Peptide injections are known to be a highly safe and effective treatment option for patients with active acne or hypertrophic scarring. In rare cases, patients receiving peptide injections may experience redness, irritation, pain, dryness, flaking, crusting, hypopigmentation, and/or local hair growth. These are often signs that your body is acclimating to the peptide treatment. We will cover the side effects and actions we take to minimize complications during your consultation.

How long will I need to have peptide injections?

Peptide injections work rapidly and can noticeably reduce inflammation within hours of receiving the injection. However, the overall number of peptide injections that you will need depends on how often you break out. Some patients have occasional acne breakouts and thus only receive peptide injections as needed. Other patients have recurrent acne breakouts, requiring regular peptide injections. At the Scar Healing Institute, we try to avoid giving you frequent peptide injections by placing you on a special diet with herbal supplements, which are proven to be effective in maintaining clear skin.

The number and concentration of peptide injections for hypertrophic scars will depend on their severity. We will have to evaluate your scars during your consultation before we determine the frequency and intervals for your peptide injections.

What is the cost of peptide injections?

The cost of peptide injections are based on a variety of factors, including the number and severity of the acne. During your consultation, we will determine these factors and work with you to determine how many sites require treatment.


What is microneedling?

Microneedling is a minimally invasive procedure at Scar Healing Institute using thin needles for incision into the skin. This procedure can help reduce the appearance of skin concerns such as acne scars, stretch marks or wrinkles. Most people get microneedling for cosmetic purposes, but it can also help with some medical conditions.

Surgical Scar Removal

What is surgical scar removal?

Surgical scar removal is an excision-type procedure that physically removes large scars to leave behind a much less noticeable scar. 

How does this surgery work?

The patient is given a local anesthetic at the site of scar removal. The scar is then cut out using a scalpel. For small scars or scars in low-tension areas, the wound can be closed easily with sutures. For larger scars or scars in high-tension skin, patients can benefit from a partial-thickness or full-thickness skin graft. The patient can expect to come back 1 to 2 weeks later to remove sutures.

Is surgical scar removal right for me?

Because surgery is a more invasive procedure, we try to stay away from it as much as possible. However, if your scars are large, as seen with hypertrophic or keloid scars, surgical scar removal can be a good option if other first-line treatments, such as steroidal injections, do not work.

What are the risks associated with surgical scar removal?

Surgical scar removals are safe procedures but do carry some low risks, including infection, slow healing, bleeding, dyspigmentation, and scar recurrence. To prevent these complications from occurring, we put patients on a strict postoperative care regimen and antibiotics.

There is also a small risk that unwanted scarring may be left behind after surgery and healing is complete. The risk increases depending on the size of the scar removal site and its location (low-tension vs high-tension skin). Our physicians are specially trained in complex wound closure techniques and skin grafting techniques to further reduce any potential unwanted scarring and stretching that may occur.

What is the recovery process like for surgical scar removal?

Patients are given very detailed postoperative care instructions on wound dressing change, medications, and pain management. We regularly check up on patients during the entire healing process to monitor any potential risks and complications that may occur. Pain is manageable with OTC medications but we can also prescribe stronger painkillers, such as tramadol, if you need it.

Everybody will heal differently following the surgery. In general, however, most patients will begin to see the closed wound from the surgery heal and match the healthy skin around it. Some pink or redness may persist for several months but will typically resolve within a year. During this time, it is especially important to remain vigilant about any scar recurrence. We may provide steroid injections to prevent any recurring scar regeneration. 

What is the cost of surgical scar removal?

The cost of surgical scar removal will vary based on the scar itself, scar location, how deep/raised the scar is, as well as the method for wound closure (suturing vs dermal grafting). If scar recurrence is a problem, additional charge will be applied to steroid injections, but this has rarely been the case.

Dermal Grafting

What is dermal grafting?

Sometimes, large scars may be surgically removed via excision. Unlike smaller scar removal procedures like punch excision, large excisions can leave behind a large gap that cannot be closed without stretching the surrounding healthy skin. If the site was closed with stitches, another scar could form due to the tension and stress that the stretched healthy skin must withstand. 

For cases like these, dermal grafts (or skin grafts) may be used. Dermal grafting is a process in which healthy skin is excised from another location on your body and placed at the site of the scar removal. Adding extra skin at the surgery site reduces the tension the skin must withstand, such that new scars are less likely to form.

How does dermal grafting work?

After a large scar is successfully excised, the dermal graft from healthy skin tissue, usually in a sun-protected area, is precisely outlined with a marking pen to exactly match the borders of the scar revision site. The graft is then excised and transferred to the revision site and sutured. During the procedure, patients are given a local anesthetic and remain awake.

There are two types of skin grafts used depending on each individual case:

  1. Partial thickness skin graft: a thin layer from a highly resilient area, especially the legs and buttocks, is shaved and transplanted to the scar revision site.
  2. Full thickness skin graft: all layers of the skin, usually from behind the ear or neck area, are excised and transplanted to the scar revision site.

Am I a good candidate for a dermal graft?

Patients with larger scars or any scars in high-tension areas, such as the forehead, joint areas, and back, would benefit from dermal grafting.

Will the dermal graft be noticeable after surgery?

Partial thickness dermal grafts will require several weeks to heal and will appear pink or reddish in the following months, after which a very faint scar is left behind. Full thickness dermal grafts take more meticulous care due to the greater complexity of the procedure. These grafts can heal within 1 to 2 weeks but will remain pink or reddish for 1 to 2 years.

Importantly, the donor site where the graft will be taken from should match the appearance of the site where the graft will be donated to. During your consultation, we will perform a comprehensive exam to find an optimal donor site to prevent scars from forming and minimize evidence of surgery.

What are the risks or side effects for skin grafts?

Some risks with skin grafts include:

  • Graft failure
  • Infection
  • Graft tissue contraction
  • Unmatched skin color
  • Additional scarring

The potential for risks from dermal graft surgery increases based on the severity and complexity of your scar revision surgery. We will perform a thorough evaluation before your treatment to minimize your risks and also monitor your progress very closely in the months following your treatment.

What are the costs associated with dermal grafts?

The costs for dermal grafts depend on how large and deep the graft is. During your consultation, we evaluate the site of scar revision to determine the specifics of your procedure.

Z/W Plasty

What is Z-plasty and W-plasty scar revision?

Z-plasty and W-plasty scar revision surgery employs special skin flaps to reduce the appearance of linear contracture scars. These special flaps also serve to reduce the skin tension caused by the scar tissue.

How does Z-plasty and W-plasty work?

As already included in the name, Z-plasty involves creating a “Z”-shaped flap, whereas W-plasty involves creating a “W”-shaped flap. These flaps are made by creating incisions around the scar in these exact shapes and then restitching them together to disrupt the linear appearance of the scar. The following is a step-by-step process of how this surgery is performed:

  1. The scar’s location, morphology, and depth are assessed to determine which flap is most optimal.
  2. A local anesthetic is administered to the scar revision site.
  3. An incision is made in a Z or W shape with optimal angle and length.
  4. The flaps are repositioned to break the linear shape of the scar.
  5. The flaps are sutured shut.

Is Z-plasty or W-plasty scar revision right for me?

An ideal candidate for Z-plasty or W-plasty scar revision is one who has a linear contracture scar. This surgical procedure is specifically designed to not only disrupt the linear appearance of the scar but also release tension on the surrounding skin. Therefore, although many may seek this surgery for cosmetic reasons, this surgery has great functional benefit for patients with severe contracture scars that restrict their movement around joints, such as the shoulders, knees, elbows, and wrists.

What are the risks for Z-plasty or W-plasty scar revision?

Z-plasty and W-plasty scar revision are safe procedures but do carry some low risks, including infection, slow healing, bleeding, dyspigmentation, and scar recurrence. To prevent these complications from occurring, we put patients on a strict postoperative care regimen and antibiotics. Pain is manageable with OTC medications but we can also prescribe stronger painkillers, such as tramadol, if you need it.

Z-plasty and W-plasty scar revision is a complex procedure that requires precise flap repositioning and suturing techniques. Be assured that we have highly trained surgeons who are able to execute these techniques. In very rare cases, the flaps may not be positioned in an optimal position, which could lead to slow healing or an unfavorable new scar appearance.

What is the recovery process like for Z-plasty and W-plasty scar revision?

After your surgery, we advise you to do the following:

  • Take OTC medication and apply a cold wrap to the treatment area to manage pain.
  • Take antibiotics, if necessary.
  • Avoid getting the treated area wet for at least 48-72 hours.
  • Change Band-Aids and apply vaseline (no ointments or moisturizers, unless otherwise specified).
  • Avoid UV exposure by minimizing outdoor activity between 10AM – 4PM or, if need be, use a hat, umbrella, and/or sunscreen for additional sun protection.
  • Avoid excessive exercise that could stretch the treatment area or accumulate sweat and moisture.
  • Avoid picking scabs because this impedes the healing process.

Typically, the treated area takes 1-2 weeks to heal, at which point we can remove the sutures. The closed wound will continue to heal over the course of the year. There will likely be some dyspigmentation, but this will go away on its own. Please note again to avoid excessive UV sun exposure and to apply sunscreen anytime you go out.

What is the cost for Z-plasty and W-plasty scar revision?

The cost for this procedure will depend on the severity and depth of your scar as well as its location. Scars in high-tension areas, such as the forehead, back, and areas around the joints require more complex surgical techniques. We will examine your scars to determine the best course of action to revise your scars.

Follow-Up Treatments

For those who seek to boost their confidence by revising their scars, our team of top-rated terms in California, USA are ready to help you reach this goal.

Concierge Skin

Our goal, however, goes beyond just treating your skin. We are committed to learning your story and helping you move on to the next chapter in your life.

F.A.Q. about Non-Acne Scar Treatments

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions that will help you on this journey of healing your non-acne scars.

What are Pregnancy Scars?2023-07-06T01:27:59-07:00

Pregnancy scars” are a casual term to describe stretch marks that arise from excessive pulling of the abdominal skin as the baby grows. Although hormonal changes during pregnancy increase skin elasticity to adapt to the growing belly and breasts, the rapid stretching of skin causes tears in the dermis, which is replaced by scar tissue. Stretch marks are not the only type of scars that can form from pregnancy. Scars from birth by cesarean section (C-section), for instance, are also common. Briefly, C-section is a procedure in which the surgeon delivers the baby through an incision made through the uterus and overlying abdominal skin. The incisional scar tends to heal and fade on its own but can persist and worsen over time like C-section scars. For the purposes of this blog, however, we will be focusing specifically on stretch marks.

Our Treatments Create Results

We are specifically known to be not only the top doctors for subcision scar treatment in California but also the leading experts in the best scar treatment clinic in California.

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