If you’ve ever been injured, had something surgically removed, had a cosmetic plastic surgery (or any type of surgery) or endured an accident of any kind, you probably have a scar of some sort to prove it. And while we tend to refer to scars generally, there are many different kinds which vary in appearance, depth, pronunciation and colour. Over time, all scars seem to fade slightly, however many patients seek more immediate solutions to prominent scarring that leaves them feeling insecure about their appearance. While there is no permanent solution for removing any scar in its entirety, there are various options available—both surgical and nonsurgical—for those seeking alternatives to lessen the appearance of their scars, with some options proving better suited or specifically catered to distinct types of scars and patients depending on their skin type and ethnicity.
Genetics play a significant role in the development of a scar, the way it forms and whether a patient is more susceptible to prominent scarring or not. Scars may also form differently on different areas of the body depending the area, as well on the amount of daily movement of that area. An area of the body that is constantly moving and stretching the skin will inevitably cause different scar tissue formation.
At Elements Spa, our highly-skilled and medically-trained staff are easily able to distinguish different types of scars, as well as devise tailored treatments best suited to each individual patient to assure the most optimal results possible. These treatments may include one, or a combination of the following: laser therapy, surgical revision and injectable fillers. Other available options also include the use of topical creams and medications, camouflage tattooing and steroids. It is crucial a treatment plan be catered specifically to the patient because each and every scar is, and needs to be treated, differently in order for the collagen within the scar to be effectively remodelled.
There are various lasers that can be used and are specifically chosen to make a patient’s scar (or scars) a lot less noticeable. They work by distributing heat deep into the dermis to stimulate and remodel the collagen over time for a smoother, flatter appearance that shows less surface discolouration and volume. Scar tissue appears smoother and softened as the laser works to reformulate and shrink the scar. This treatment also requires no downtime and little aftercare to assure the scar continues to diminish in its prominence. Patients typically need a series of 3-5 treatments depending on the size, length and number of scars, as well will see results immediately, with more favourable results appearing as they continue with more sessions. The lasers are incredibly safe as well and are well tolerated with the application of numbing cream on the area treated.
As previously mentioned, there is yet to be a solution to permanently remove scars. However, scar revision surgery is a great option for patients with more noticeable scars from previous surgeries or accidents. At Elements Spa, we typically advise our patients to wait approximately one year (from the initial scar’s existence) to allow it to mature. This means the scar may thicken or simply settle more into the skin. Within this year, the body’s own natural healing mechanisms work efficiently and as best it can to heal the scar and allow it to begin to fade. After the initial year, if patients are not satisfied with their scar’s appearance, then they can opt for a surgical scar revision. This procedure typically takes less then an hour and can be done under local anesthesia depending on the size, length and location of the scar. The scar is then opened and again closed in a way that allows for less tension which results in more uniform healing. The results of this greatly depends on the expertise, skill and experience of your surgeon. Dr. Adibfar’s techniques and thorough post operative instructions will assure that his patients achieve the best results possible.
Fillers like Perlane and Restylane and juvederm can be used very efficiently to diminish the look of scars and provide longer lasting benefits than would collagen fillers alone. They are especially helpful for reducing the appearance of deep acne scars causing depressions in the skin and an uneven surface. The fillers are injected beneath the scar, filling in the creases and breaking up any adhesions to make space for the filler. These fillers are made with hyaluronic acid so they are safe, easy to work with, as well as provide great results. Over time the product is absorbed by the body so maintenance treatments may be needed every 12-18 months depending on the patient.
Other Helpful Tips
All scars need significant time to heal, however there are a few things you can do to assure the best results possible over time for less prominent scarring. Fresh scars that are kept moist will heal better. That means applying your prescribed medicinal cream or silicone-based gels gently twice a day to help the body and scar heal best. Fresh scars should also be protected from the sun. When these scars get burned, they tend to change colour leaving scars looking dark and more noticeable. Make sure to apply sunscreen or prescribed topical cream to scars as a barrier from the sun if exposed. Patients are also advised that while our bodies do a miraculous job in self healing, being proactive in assuring scars are well looked after reduces the chance of them becoming more obvious. Once scars are matured, which could generally take approximately 1-2 years, if patients seek a more aggressive treatment to lessen the appearance of their scars, then this would be the best time to do so.
Click here to learn more about Elements Spa’s various scar revision treatments or to book a consultation with one of Toronto’s best board-certified cosmetic plastic surgeons, Dr. Adibfar.