Q. I have a nasty-looking scar that shows only when I wear a bathing suit. I'd like to get rid of it, if possible. What's available?
There is no procedure yet that will make a scar disappear completely. However, there are treatments to make a scar less noticeable. These include:
Surgical Scar Revision: This is a method of removing a scar and rejoining the normal skin. Wide scars can often be made thinner. Long scars can be made shorter. Using broken-line incisions can make scars harder to notice. Sometimes, a surgeon can hide a scar by redirecting it into a wrinkle or a hairline.
Dermabrasion: A surgeon uses an electrical dermabrasion machine to remove the top layers of skin. This process gives the skin a smoother surface. Dermabrasion is used for treating acne scars, pockmarks, some surgical scars, or minor irregularities.
Laser Scar Revision: Another method of improving scars is laser scar revision. High-energy light is used to treat damaged skin. Different lasers are available for treating a variety of scars. For example, a pulsed dye laser uses yellow light to remove scar redness and to flatten raised scars (hypertrophic scars or keloids).
Soft Tissue Fillers: There are injectable substances such as fat, collagen and hyaluronic acid, that are used to treat indented soft scars.
Punch Grafts: Punch grafts are small pieces of normal skin used to replace scarred skin. A tiny circular cutter is used to cut a hole in the skin and remove the scar. The area is then filled in with a matching piece of unscarred skin.
Chemical Peels: This procedure uses a chemical to remove the top layer of the skin and smooth depressed scars. It is most helpful for superficial scars.
Pressure bandages and massages: These can both flatten some scars if used on regularly for several months.
Silicone gels: Silicone-impregnated gels can be used at home to remodel elevated scars. They must also be used regularly.
Cryosurgery: This technique freezes upper skin layers and causes blistering of the skin to remove the excess tissue at the scar.
Cortisone injections: These are effective in shrinking and flattening very firm scars. This treatment is popular for hypertrophic scars and keloids.
Interferon: This is a chemical that is injected into the scar. It may improve the appearance of a scar.
Cosmetics: Make up applied correctly can be very good at covering up scars.
If you have a question, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Times News, Inc., and affiliates (TIMES NEWS) do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the author do not necessarily state or reflect those of the TIMES NEWS. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.