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What is scar revision surgery?

Scar Revision Surgery

Scar revision surgery improves the appearance of a scar. Scar revision surgery may involve  relocating a scar. Most people seek scar revision surgery for cosmetic reasons. Scar revision surgery is sometimes medically necessary to restore function of the affected body part or to relieve symptoms, such as pain.

Scar revision surgery has risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having scar revision surgery.

Types of scar revision surgeries

The types of scar revision surgeries include:

  • Punch graft involves punching out a core of skin containing the scar and filling it with a core of unscarred skin from another area. Punch grafts are especially useful for small, deep scars such as acne scars.
  • Scar excision involves cutting out the scar and closing the incision. A new scar will form, but it should be less visible than the original scar. 
  • Z or W-plasty involves cutting a series of triangular flaps through the scar in a ā€œZā€ or ā€œWā€ pattern. This can reposition the new scar into natural creases or relieve a contracted scar by cutting across fibrous tissue.

Other procedures that may be performed 

Your doctor may perform other procedures in addition to scar revision surgery. These include: 

  • Autologous fat transfer or collagen injection to fill in sunken or depressed scars
  • Dermabrasion and laser resurfacing to improve the surface appearance of the scar by treating the top skin layers
  • Skin grafting or skin flaps to take healthy skin from one area and transplant it to cover the area where the scar was surgically removed
  • Tissue expansion to create extra skin near the scar that will cover the area once the scar is surgically removed
Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Dec 21, 2012

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Medical References

Batra RS. Surgical techniques for scar revision. Skin Therapy Lett. 2005;10(4):4-7. http://www.skintherapyletter.com/2005/10.4/2.html. Accessed November 26, 2012.
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Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://www.ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf+html. Accessed November 26, 2012.
Scar Revision. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Reconstructive-Procedures/Scar-Revision.html. Accessed November 26, 2012.
Scar Revision. Penn Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. http://www.pennmedicine.org/plasticsurgery/cosmetic/scar.html. Accessed November 26, 2012.
Scars. University of Chicago Medicine. http://www.uchospitals.edu/online-library/content=p00313. Accessed November 26, 2012.
Understanding Facial Scar Treatment. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. http://www.aafprs.org/patient/procedures/facial_scar.html. Accessed November 26, 2012.

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