Scar treatment and correction are challenging tasks for a plastic surgeon because wound healing is a long process that varies considerably from person to person. Scars can affect our appearance and cause constant disturbance.
When a plastic surgeon can freely choose the site of an incision, it is usually possible to hide the scar within the natural folds or wrinkles of the skin. Once healed, such scars are practically invisible. With scars due to injuries there is often no choice. Concealing such scars can be extremely difficult and sometimes impossible.
The final appearance of a surgical scar depends on how carefully the tissues are treated during surgery and which materials are used for the sutures, as well as on the skin’s own healing ability. Scar overgrowth is more common in younger people. In some people this overgrowth (excessive tissue growth during the process of healing) may be very severe and it is then referred to as keloid scarring.
Scar overgrowth can be prevented by compression therapy. It is usually performed by means of a silicone gel patch. If the pressure applied on the scar by this method is insufficient, made-to-measure compression garments are used. Compression garments are indispensable in the aftercare of burn scars and are usually used in the postoperative period after skin grafting.
Wound healing is not over when the stitches are removed. At first the surgical wound is always red. This can last for weeks and sometimes for months and years. As the scar matures, it turns paler. The formation of scar tissue is most pronounced during the first three months after the wound was made. Therefore, compression therapy must be started straight after the surgery. In keloid scar treatment, compression therapy may be beneficial later as well. Compression therapy makes the scar more elastic, less tight and less conspicuous.