Scars are amongst the most difficult dermatological problems to treat. They often develop after severe acne, chickenpox, accidents or surgical procedures. Most scars will improve somewhat with time, but early intervention can help rebuild collagen and improve remodeling, minimizing their appearance. There are numerous types of scars, each with its own optimal treatment modality.
In general, scars can be divided into hypertrophic or atrophic subtypes. Hypertrophic (raised) scars benefit from a deep laser resurfacing treatment, sometimes in combination with steroid injections into the scar, to flatten it. Atrophic (depressed) scars come in different varieties. Those that have sharp edges (some acne scars, some surgical scars) are either treated with a resurfacing laser to smooth out the edges, or the scar is removed surgically and re-sutured properly. Scars that have soft edges are easier to treat. These are best filled using injection of a filling agent, or by stimulating production of one's own collagen using lighter non-ablative resurfacing lasers. Subcision is a surgical method that involves numbing the skin with local anesthesia, and then breaking the scar using a special needle. This technique not only breaks the fibers of scars tissue that depress the skin, it also stimulates new collagen formation that elevates the scar.
Stretch marks can be likened to a depressed scar that is due to over stretching of the skin (with pregnancy or weight gain). Lasers that stimulate collagen improve the texture and appearance of the stretch marks, often in combination with some creams and sun protection.
The doctors at The Skin Clinic have numerous years of experience in medical, laser, and cutaneous surgical techniques used for improving such scars. Often a combined approach using different types of treatment is necessary to achieve satisfying results. For this reason, it is important to be evaluated and treated by specialist physicians who can recognize the different types of scars, and decide on the best treatment modality.