Overview of Scar Removal

Wounds produce scars as they heal. How severe or noticeable the scar is depends on the type and location of the injury. According to The American Academy of Dermatology, "...no scar can ever be completely erased; and no magic technique will return the scar to its normal uninjured appearance."

However, there are many ways to make scars less conspicuous. Common methods include dermabrasion, chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing, vascular laser treatment, subscision, and filler injections.

Another approach that may be used is called surgical scar revision. This procedure involves adjusting the scar or redirecting it toward a natural line or wrinkle, or surgically excising the scar in such a way that the skin heals with less tension, producing a less noticeable scar.

Punch grafts are another way to minimize scars, especially depressed acne scars (called ice pick scarring). In this procedure, a punch biopsy device is used to remove a circular area of tissue, which is placed where the scar is located. Then, skin is removed from elsewhere on the body (usually from the earlobe), placed over the area, and stitched or taped in place. Punch grafts result in scarring that is not as obvious as the scars they replace. Laser resurfacing or dermabrasion then can be used to further camouflage the scar.

Acne scars are occasionally treated with autologuous fat transfer. This medical procedure involves removing fat from another part of the body and injecting it into the scarred area (much like a collagen injection). This raises scars to the skin's surface level and makes the skin smoother. Autologuous fat transfers may need to be repeated to maintain the desired effects.

Publication Review By: Christopher J. Dannaker, M.D.

Published: 26 Jul 2006

Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015