How can I improve a scar from a feeding tube?

I'm a 45 year old man. I'm 6'3" and 200 lbs with a muscular build. I have a scar remaining from a feeding tube. Though the scar itself is very small, it's depressed. So it looks like a tiny (but noticeable) "innie" navel on my side. What are some non-surgical options for raising an indented scar? Are there any over-the-counter options?

Doctor Answers 1

Subcision & Fractional Medical Microneedle Therapy Work Well Together For Raising & Blending Indented Scars

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When scars are fully matured, i.e. have been present for at least a year, as sounds to be the case here, there are a variety of approaches that can be considered. For over twenty years, subcision has proven an easy and effective method for permanently elevating depressed scars of various types, including traumatic scars and acne scars. 

Subcision is a procedure in which a sterilized needle is inserted, following the administration of local anesthesia, directly beneath a depressed scar (regardless of whether from acne, infection, trauma, or surgery) and used to break up the thick bands of fibrous scar tissue that bind down the surface and create the depression.

Breaking up the abnormal bands of thickened, scar collagen accomplishes two things. First, it allows the surface of the scar to float to the surface. In addition, the tissue fluid that immediately fills the space following treatment contains growth factors and other wound healing substances that promote neocollagenesis, native collagen production, that allows for improvement and elevation of the scars. Between two to four treatments, spaced at six week intervals, are generally required to promote sufficient new collagen to achieve a satisfactory improvement. Since, the collagen produced is one's own, the results of subcision are typically permanent. A small amount of collagen-stimulating volumizer, such as Radiesse, may be instilled right after treatment to further promote neocollagenesis (new, native collagen formation).

Fractional microneedle therapy aka medical microneedling (or dermarolling) works by creating numerous areas of controlled microwounding that set off in turn a cascade of events that result in new, native collagen synthesis, which translates into healthier, thicker skin that improves the appearance of the underlying scars. It is particularly useful for improving the surface tone and texture of skin to enhance blending with the surrounding normal skin. In this case, it would be helpful for improving what appears to be a background of acne scarring.

Unfortunately, to date I have not been impressed with laser success rates nor the actual degree of overall aesthetic improvement with their use. When it comes to lasers, there is an abundance of media hype and a dearth of rigorous scientific support. Scarabrasion, in which the scar is first removed (by punch excision) and then followed up by manually dermasanding the area about eight to twelve weeks later, is certainly a possibility. However, subcision is much simpler, requires no stitches or surface healing and would seem to me to be the treatment of first choice in this case.

Consultation with a board certified aesthetic core physician with extensive experience and expertise in all forms of scar treatment is essential.

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
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