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Scar Revision Surgery | Illinois Dermatology Institute

At IDI, we recognize that life is filled with unexpected twists and turns. We also know that sometimes those include getting unwanted scars from injury, surgery, or illness.

Our comprehensive dermatology team proudly offers scar revision surgery to help reduce the appearance of scars from events like acne, injury, medical changes, and even tummy tuck scar revisions after a major cosmetic surgery.

Let’s discuss some of the different types of scars we can help with, along with the best treatment options available to you.

What is a scar?

A scar is the body’s way of naturally healing from impact or injury to the skin. It works to replace lost or damaged skin and is typically made up of fibrous tissue.

Scars can appear anywhere on the body and, depending on their size and shape, can restrict the affected area from functioning properly.

The look of a scar can vary from colored to transparent and can appear bumpy or flat. Sometimes scars cause itching or pain depending on location, size, and reason for scarring. Other factors that can affect scar systems include the person’s age, health status, individual healing properties, and, even, daily nutritional intake.

Types of Scars

There are several different types of scars that may be sustained. The most common include:

  • Hypertrophic scars are red, raised scars filled with excessive collagen that may be itchy or slightly painful. These are considered harmless and do not grow outside the original injury area.
  • Keloids are overgrown areas of scar tissue that appear as irregularly-shaped, raised, pink, or red areas that may continue to grow over time. While they can occur anywhere on the body, they are most common on the face, neck, ears, chest, or shoulders.
  • Contractures are more severe scars that restrict movement due to the tissue in the area pulling together during the healing process. This type of scar most commonly occurs after large amounts of tissue loss or in wounds on a joint.

What is scar revision surgery?

In simplest terms, scar revision surgery is a type of Surgical Dermatology that can be performed for medical and cosmetic reasons to reduce the appearance of scars on the body. Scar revision surgery reduces the appearance of scars caused by injury, illness, or previous surgery.

While many scars fade over time and eventually transform to become barely noticeable, many patients experience disruptions to the healing process that cause scars to become red, raised, indented, or otherwise deformed.

Often, patients are unhappy and embarrassed by the appearance of scars, especially when they are located in prominent areas.

At IDI, we provide comprehensive scar revision services to help patients achieve smooth, clear skin that they no longer have to be ashamed of.

Scar Revision Procedures

There are many surgical methods of scar revision, only some of which may be appropriate for a particular type of scar or its location.

The most common scar revision techniques are detailed below.


Subcision is a procedure for treating scars that are depressed. A needle is directed into the skin to break up the fibers that attach the scar to tissue below the surface, raising it back to the elevation of the surrounding skin. It also promotes healing in the area, creating new connective tissue that repairs and smoothes the skin.


Most often used for severe contracture scars, excision involves making an incision to surgically remove the scar and surrounding damaged tissue with a scalpel. In addition, a skin flap or graft may be used to restore the appearance of the skin in the treated area and improve movement and flexibility that may have been affected by the contracture.

Punch Elevation

Particularly effective for certain types of acne scars, Punch Elevation involves using a punch tool to remove small quantities of tissue without affecting the skin nearby.

Surface Treatments

Many Cosmetic Procedures can effectively improve the appearance of mild surface irregularities by gently removing the top layers of skin and rejuvenating the underlying layers for a restored appearance. However, multiple treatments may be needed.

Laser Treatments

Laser treatments gently remove the damaged layers of skin to reveal new, restored skin underneath while also stimulating collagen production for further gradual improvements.


Dermal fillers can fill depressed scars and create a smoother skin surface. Fillers are FDA-approved and safe for use by most patients. Fillers are injected directly into the skin of the targeted area to restore volume to the scar and reduce its appearance.

If you are living with a scar caused by injury or illness or require a tummy tuck scar revision, various options can help restore the natural look of your skin and reduce the appearance of your scar.


TCA CROS uses a very high concentration of trichloracetic acid to achieve a chemical reduction of scars (CROS).  The acid is applied directly to the scar edges and results in smoothing the borders of the scars with the surrounding skin.  It can be used for many scars, especially ice-pick acne scars.  Typically, 3-5 treatments are required for best results.

Results and Recovery

Most scar revision surgeries are minimally invasive and do not require any downtime.

Patients may experience mild swelling, discoloration, and discomfort in the treated area for one to two weeks but will likely experience immediate, noticeable results. However, complete results may take several months to appear.

It’s important to note that the best procedure for each patient will vary depending on the location and severity of the scar. Together we will develop a personalized treatment for you after a thorough evaluation of your scar and healthcare needs.


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