How Can One Get Rid of Old Scars?

Can an old 5-inch long surgical scar as well as scars from chicken pox be removed? Prevention or treatment of the scar while it's healing isn't an option anymore. Is it possible that these can be removed? What kind of treatment is recommended and how much will it cost? How long would the treatment be?

Doctor Answers 9

Removing old scars

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It is possible to revise scars so that they are not as visible, but more difficult to remove them completely. It sounds like for the abdomen you are a good candidate for s surgical scar revision with a plastic surgeon. There is a good chance this will make the scar much less visible.

For the chicken pox scar, you have a couple options. If a small light linear scar is more acceptable to you, you might be a candidate for a surgical scar revision and another option is laser resurfacing, possibly Erbium or fractional may be appropriate. In both cases, go in with the idea that you want to swap a new lesser scar for a worse older one and there's a good chance that your expectations will be met.

Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Scar Revision on the abdomen or chest

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Scar revision employs a variety of surgical and non surgical modalities, including surgical scar revision, topical creams, injections of TAC, and scar modification. It is advisable to seek the advice of a surgeon who is able to perform all of these modalities.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews


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Sometimes scars can be improved by scar revision surgery.  Some lasers can remove hyperpigmentation while others can soften the contour irregularities.  Without examining you it is difficult to let you know exactly what to do. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Treatments for old scars

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Unfortunately, scars are for life. However, this does not mean they cannot be improved. For issues of surface irregularities (elevated scar, lumpy scar, etc.) planing of the scar by dermabrasion works well. Color changes in a scar may be improved via certain lasers or IPL. For indented or puckered scars, deep release combined with a filler (fat grafting, Juvederm, etc.)  may work. In cases where a scar is quite large or has a functional impairment (common in burn scars), excision of the scar with reconstruction of the resulting wound may be the best solution.

All scars are different and the treatment should be individualized. Prices also vary. Some insurance plans will cover a scar revision if the scar is a keloid or is symptomatic. However, these claims are often denied. The cost varies significantly as does the recovery time. To find out your options, I recommend consulting a board certified plastic surgeon in your area.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

How to Get Rid of Old Scars

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Scars are permanent. As plastic surgeons, we try to hide them in lines that people normally have. Most plastic surgeons will wait at least 10 months to a year before attempting surgical revision as the scar needs to be mature before surgery. The problem with surgical revision is that there is no guarantee that the new scar will be better than the scar that you have right now.

There are other modalities that might help. discoloration may be treated with laser therapy. Hypertrophic or keloid scars may be treated with injections of medicine.

Always best to see your board certified plastic surgeon and see what would be right for you.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

The long scar can probably be adressed by scar revision

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It sounds like you might be a candidate for a scar revision. A doctor would need to see the scar to be sure.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

Scar Management

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As I tell all of my patients, those with previous scars and those who I am planning on operating on, scars are permanent, but it is a plastic surgeon's passion to construct or repair current scars in a concealing manner. In a sense, hide them so that although they are present, they are not obvious to the naked eye.

Surgical repair techniques include, but are not limited to, excision and re-repair, Z-plasty utilization, dermabrasion, laser resurfacing and even make-up concealer.

Discuss all the options above with your board certified plastic surgeon and ask them about the cost, which can range from a few hundred dollars to 3-4 thousand depending on location, extent and time/technique necessary to repair.

I hope this helps!

Dr. C

John Philip Connors III, MD, FACS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Getting rid of old scars

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You can't. Scars are forever.

However, in some cases scars can be made to look less noticeable by various techniques called SCAR REVISION. Depending on the location of the scar, the way it was caused, the adjacent tissues, Plastic surgeons can remove the scar, use various surgical techniques to exchange it for a new scar which would hopefully be nicer. The cost would vary widely based on the scar.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Scar Revision

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Scars can not be completely removed.  What can happen is that the scar can be revised or redone so that the new scar you have is aesthetically more pleasing.

Some laser can help with hyperpigmentation issues as can some creams.

Hope that helps.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.