Blog — Notes of a Plastic Surgeon

Welcome to my blog. I am a plastic surgeon in Seattle and have been in private practice since 1991. I've seen more than a few interesting faces and cases through my years spent in the exam room, the operating room and the emergency room. And I have an opinion on just about everything relating to plastic surgery (and a lot of unrelated stuff). If you like my blog, let me know. Thanks for reading! Lisa

FAQ: Can You Remove This Scar?

Seattle Plastic Surgeon answers Scar FAQ:  Can you remove this scar?

I did not remove this nasty scar. I revised it. Nice case, huh?

I did not remove this nasty scar. I revised it. Nice case, huh?

Okay, first I’ll share the bad news:  Scars are forever.  Any injury that penetrates the deep layer of skin will leave a permanent scar.  One exception to this rule:  If you are a fetus or a salamander, you probably will heal without scarring but my guess is that you are not a fetus or a salamander if you are reading this blog.

Now for the good news:  Almost all scars get better with time thanks to the benevolence of Mother Nature.   That nasty scar on my thigh from a little misadventure with an iron when I was 14 was barely visible a few years later.  These days,  I have to look really hard to see it.

Now for more good news:  Nasty scars that remain troublesome even after Mother Nature has had her crack at it, can often be improved with a scar revision.  A scar revision usually involves excising the old scar and then closing the incision very carefully in layers and following the patient closely to assure the best possible healing.  Sometimes the scar needs to be rearranged with a procedure called a Z-Plasty (it’s complicated) which alters the tension and direction of the scar.  If the scar in question is from an injury or incision that had healing complications such as infection or coming apart or a lot of tension, a scar revision will likely have a good chance of making the scar better.

Now for some more bad news (what a way to finish up, eh?):  If you have a surgical scar and it is smooth and pale, a scar revision is not likely going to help much.  A smooth and pale scar is usually as good as it gets.

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder


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