What is the cost for getting an old scar removed? What are some of the best scar removal products on the market today? I have deep acne scars; what can I do to get rid of them? These are all commonly asked questions and if you can relate to them, then read on to get a comprehensive coverage of the various scar removal options and products.
Scar Removal Cost
Scar removal cost varies widely depending on the type and location of the scar and the treatment option chosen. The size of the scar and the number of treatment sessions required also influences the cost e.g. 3 sessions of laser treatment may be required for one patient with as much as 7 sessions required for another.
Scar removal cost also varies depending on the experience of the surgeon and their geographic location.
All these factors into perspective, you can expect to pay between $300 and $600 per session of laser treatment (keep in mind that a total of 3-7 sessions may be needed) and between $500 and $5,000 for scar revision cost (average cost in the US is $1,475).
Best Scar Removal
Which is the best scar removal option available today? Well, this is a rather tricky question to answer because the suitability of a scar treatment options varies with the type, texture and size of the scar and its location, depth, direction, your age, and genetic predisposition to scarring.
Depending on the particular circumstances, one or more of the following scar removal options may be used:
Laser treatment: Laser treatment is what comes to my mind first every time I ponder about the best scar removal options available.
Commonly referred to as laser skin resurfacing, laser treatment involves using pulses of high energy lasers to stimulate a regrowth of healthy skin from the lower layers of the skin. Ablative lasers such as erbium and CO2 work by vaporizing the uppermost layers of the scar, allowing smoother skin to grow in its place. These are preferred for treatment of scars with soft, irregular borders.
Newer non-ablative lasers such as Cool Touch, Nlite, and Smoothbeam on the other hand work by targeting the dermis directly where they stimulate the production of collagen without stripping the skin of its surface.
As for pulsed-dye laser, they are commonly used in treatment of raised scars such as keloid scars and they help to flatten them in addition to reducing excessive redness often associated with such scars.
Dermabrasion also ranks among the best scar removal procedures. For this procedure the dermatologist essentially removes the surface of the skin with special equipment to make the scar flatter. Removal of the hardened scar tissue leaves room for growth of softer tissue.
A less invasive form of dermabrasion called microdermabrasion can also be used to remove very superficial scars, but for deeper scars, traditional dermabrasion is your best bet.
Filler injections are usually used to treat sunken scars such as those caused by acne. This helps to raise the scars to the level of the surrounding skin and thus make them less conspicuous. The downside to filler injections however is that the results are temporary and re-injections are required every four to six months.
Silicon gel sheeting: Another way to get rid of scars is to apply a sheet of silicone gel everyday. These are available over-the-counter in most drugstores (pharmacies) and for optimum results, Andrea Cambio, MD, a dermatologist based in Florida suggests continued usage for at least 3 months.
Steroid injections: Raised scars such as keloid scars and hypertrophic scars are often treated by injection of steroids. Several injections over a period of time may however be required for optimum results.
Radiotherapy: low doses of radiotherapy is often used to prevent the recurrence of hypertrophic and keloid scars, this treatment options is however reserved for very severe cases because of the potential long term side effects of radiotherapy.
Surgery: surgery can also be used to reduce the size and/or alter the shape of a scar as to make it less noticeable.
Note that I used the words reduce, not eliminate since surgery cannot remove a scar completely. Surgery is also not recommended for use on keloid and hypertrophic scars since they often grow back after surgery, worse off for that matter.
The surgeon may in some special circumstances (e.g. where a scar restricts movement of a joint) however decide to use surgery alongside other treatments such as radiotherapy or steroid injection.
Scar creams: these days you can’t complete a talk about removing scars without mentioning scar removal creams whose number is ever increasing. Silicone and onion extract seems to be some of the most common ingredients in such creams. Read more about creams in the next section.
Scar Removal Products – A Closer Look at Scar Removal Creams
Talking of scar creams, there are dozens upon dozens of scar removal products on the market today. You should however keep in mind that not all scar removal products works; some will promise you the moon but leave you hanging in the sky 🙂 while others have harmful or controversial ingredients that you may want to stay away from.
One such ingredient is hydroquinone which has been linked to “…irritation and carcinogenic concern” as Tina Alster, MD, a dermatologist and clinical professor at Georgetown University Medical Center puts it.
This is one of the reasons why Revitol Scar Cream that used to get all the rave reviews might continue to fall out of favor of health conscious consumers.
As for Mederma which features onion extract as the active ingredient, scientific studies have been conflicting. Some research studies such as the one done by Dr. Z. Draelos and published in the “Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology” have shown positive results for scarring, while others show that it doesn’t work in as far as improvement of scars is concerned.
This is one of those products that you just have to decide by yourself if you want to give them a try.
Kelo-cote Keloid Treatment is another high rated scar removal cream and as the name suggests, Kelo-cote is formulated to flatten, smooth and soften keloid (and hypertrophic) scars.
Based on silicone, this cream is recommended by the International Advisory Panel on Scar Management. It can also help in reducing acne scars, chicken pox scars and stretch marks.
Scarguard also seems to have great ratings and reviews. Scarguard features several ingredients including cortisone (to relieve redness and inflammation), silicone shown to help reduce and flatten scars) and vitamin E (helpful for normal skin functioning even though it is not as beneficial to scars).
A study published in the “Aesthetic Surgery Journal” showed that scarguard can enhance the production of collagenase enzyme which aids in the breakdown of excess collagen; the factor behind raised keloid and hypertrophic scars.
With all that in mind, your best bet for scar removal products would be Kelo-cote or Scarguard.
Old Scar Removal
You are perhaps right now wondering what scar removal options are suitable for old scars that have been around for a while.
Well, laser treatment, otherwise referred to as laser skin resurfacing is one old scar removal option that you may want to consider.
According to Dr. Bruce Katz, an associate clinical professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, also the director of Juva Skin and Laser Center in New York, the same lasers used to treat newly formed scars can help to reduce the appearance of scars formed decades ago as well.
Surgery is yet another old scar removal option that can help to make the scars smaller and/or less noticeable. Dermabrasion and can as well help to reduce decade old scars. Scar removal creams such as ScarGuard and Kelo-cote are also touted to help both new and decades old scars.
Talk to a dermatologist or your GP about the best option for your specific case.
Deep Scar Removal
The other day, one of our valued readers asked for a highlight of the deep scar removal options available today.
If you have deep scars dermabrasion (removal of upper layers of the skin to facilitate a growth of new, healthy skin) makes for a suitable option and so does ablative lasers such as carbon dioxide (CO2) laser resurfacing which vaporize the scar and allow new skin to grow in its place.
Both dermabrasion and laser resurfacing typically involves a downtime of about one and a half week before the patient can resume normal duties.
Newer lasers such as Fraxel can as well help heal deep scars albeit to a slightly less degree than the traditional CO2 laser resurfacing and dermabrasion.
Filler injections can also help to reduce the appearance of deep scars, especially acne scars, by raising their tops surface to the level of the surrounding skin. Filler injection may be preceded by a process called subcision which is performed to release the bond between the scar and the underlying tissue.
Scar revisions surgery is yet another deep scar removal option that you may want to talk to your GP or dermatologist about. The specific approach adopted depends on the type of scar (e.g. hypertrophic or atrophic?), location, size and surgeon’s preferences.
For instance, narrow but deep scars which are often referred to as ice picks can be improved using punch grafts whereby the scars are first removed surgically before being replaced with a small flap of skin obtained from behind the ear. Once the graft has healed, dermabrasion is then done 2 or so months down the line to make the scar texture more even.
In case of adhesions, laparoscopic surgery I soften used to get rid of the internal scar tissues even though open surgery can also be used whereby the scar is removed using an electric current or cut off with a scalpel.
Best thing to do is to talk to a Board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon for advice on the best options for your specific scar(s).
Spot Scar Removal
Spot scar removal options range from laser resurfacing to scar removal creams, filler injection, silicone sheeting, dermabrasion and surgical scar revision.
You should also keep in mind that your health insurance policy may not cover a surgical revision driven on aesthetic goals alongside any treatment necessary to manage arising complications. Ask with your health insurance company before taking the big leap.
Some clinics however offer flexible terms of payment for the scar revision cost while others have loan arrangements for their patients from financial institutions. It might be worth your time asking your surgeon about the payment terms available during your preliminary consultation.
Scar Removal Before and After Pictures
The notion of a thousand words equivalence for a single picture can’t be truer than in this case. What a better way to offer insight into the typical results for scar removal treatments than with a few scar removal “before and after” pictures, so here we go:
Scar before and after 1
Our first scar removal before and after picture shows a patient who had visible acne scars but after a laser resurfacing treatment at Celibre Medical, LA, the scars on the face shows remarkable improvement.
Scar before and after
The lady in the picture had a noticeable scar on her right cheek, but after a surgical revision (excision) followed by dermabrasion 6 weeks down the line, the scar showed significant improvement.
Quick Scar Removal
If you are looking to get that unsightly scar gone as fast as possible without so much interruption to your normal routine, then your best bet would be microdermabrasion which, unlike traditional dermabrasion triggers growth of new, healthy skin without removing the uppermost layer of the skin.
The downside to microdermabrasion is that it is not effective in treatment of deep scars.
Some new lasers resurfacing techniques that work by targeting the deeper layers of the skin without damaging the topmost layer of the skin are also available.
Talk to a dermatologist about the suitability of these options for your specific case.