Scars: Reasons for Formation, Stages and Treatment Methods
Scars and cicatrices on different parts of the body cause discomfort and provoke complexes. Modern techniques practiced in aesthetic medicine can effectively fix this issue.
Reasons for their formation
No one is immune to the appearance of ugly marks on their skin in the form of either scars or cicatrices. They appear in men, children and women at many different ages. The reasons for their formation largely determines the treatment methods. The most frequent reasons include:
- Cuts- In most cases, they are subtle and unobtrusive. Only rarely, deep tissues get affected.
- Injuries- The healing of wounds caused by firearms is accompanied by the formation of rough scars that often acquire a funnel shape.
- Burns- They occur due to the impact of high temperatures or sunlight as well as chemical and radioactive substances on your skin. A feeling of pain accompanies them. Their localization in the joints significantly limits motor function and provokes contractures.
- Removal of moles- The formation is removed from the entire thickness of the skin. It results in a dense scar. One exception is the laser technique of burning moles. It leaves minimally noticeable traces on the skin, which can’t be classified as scars.
The least conspicuous are skin lesions that which appear after surgical operations. Most oftenly they tend to be located in the following areas of the body:
- On the stomach- It’s impossible to perform an appendectomy, cesarean section or hernia removal without them.
- On the chest- They become the result of pulmonary or cardiac surgeries.
- On the neck- They’re left after surgery on the thyroid gland.
The low visibility of such scars is explained by the fact that professional surgeons make incisions according to special types of rules. They take into account the location of collagen fibers in the skin. In their work, they use special tools and materials — such as laser scalpels, devices for closing incisions and biological glue.
According to their structural features, scars can be normotrophic, atrophic, hypertrophic or keloid. All of them go through several stages during which they undergo certain changes.
The initial stage lasts 7-10 days from the moment of scarring. Collagen is intensively synthesized. The wound swells and thickens.
For 25-30 days, a soft scar is formed. Due to the increased blood flow it acquires a bright pink or reddish hue.
The third stage, called “aging” in medicine can last between 1-3 months. During this time period, redness tends to disappear and the affected area can become thick.
The formation of the scar is considered entirely formed once the swelling disappears. The contours of the damaged area become clearly visible. It becomes very thick and even turns pale. This process takes at least 4 months and can last up to a year. The following factors determine its exact timing:
- Health status
- Body constitution
- Level of development of the immune system
The effectiveness of scar treatment directly depends on the stage at which the treatment is performed. The earlier, the more successful and faster the result you can expect.
A few decades ago, the only option to get rid of an ugly scar was surgery. The following circumstances were considered indications for contacting the surgeon:
- Presence of a large and painful keloid-type scar resulting from a burn or serious injury
- Penetration of a vessel or nerve into the scar tissue
- Special location of the scar that would deprive the joint of mobility or greatly reduce it
The surgeon’s job was to excise the pathological tissue and make a postoperative suture. After the suture would heal, there would be no rough traces.
The classic surgical method of dealing with scars remains relevant to this day. But along with it, there are more modern therapeutic techniques now. They have emerged as a result of innovations in the field of medicine:
- Laser treatment- The argon laser beam is directed to the place of the scar with the help of a special device. It affects different depths of the skin, depending on its degree of damage. Coarse collagen warms up and may actualy die off. After treatment, there is a slight erosion which disappears in 5 days. To successfully combat keloid tissue and hypertrophy, laser treatment is performed in a course that consists of several procedures- including steroid-type hormones which can be used.
- Botulinum therapy- It’s performed by injecting botox, xeomin, dysport or lantox into the damaged area. Course therapy is carried out in a clinic and it takes some time. As a result, the scar is smoothed out and becomes almost invisible.
- Cryotherapy- It implies the use of nitrogen in liquid form. It’s used in cases where it’s impossible to resort to laser techniques due to medical contraindications. Nitrogen can impact scar tissue for 15 seconds leading to its hypothermia and death. The course of cryotherapy consists of several types of procedures. It shows effectiveness in the fight against small scars and scars that haven’t affected deeper tissues.
Peeling is considered one of the most modern ways to get rid of scars. It’s performed with the help of chemicals. A specialist decides on the combination and proportion of said chemicals individually depending on the type of scar. Peelings are suitable for rough scars in the later stages of development. They help to deeply cleanse the skin and exfoliate the upper layers of the epidermis. As a result of such exposure, the skin gets leveled and acquires an even shade. The scar area then becomes invisible.
To get a decent effect, it’s necessary to conduct preliminary preparation before chemical peeling. It consists in treating the affected area with a special gel-like agent that contains silicone. Due to its impact, the scar may soften and will become easier to work with.