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Scar Revision

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.


What you need to know about scar revision:

Scar revision is surgery to improve the look of one or more scars. Scar revision may also help correct or fix a painful or disfiguring scar. You will still have a scar, but it will look smoother and less visible. Your surgeon may use one or more types of scar revision to improve the look of your scar.

How to prepare for scar revision surgery:

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. Your provider will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. You may be given an antibiotic through your IV to help prevent a bacterial infection.

What will happen during scar revision surgery:

  • You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any sharp pain.
  • Your surgeon may make an incision around the scar to remove it. Several incisions near or on your scar may be made instead in a certain pattern. This pattern helps to form a less visible scar. Your surgeon may also remove or move scar tissue. The incisions will then be closed with stitches and the area will be covered with a bandage.

What will happen after scar revision surgery:

You may have swelling, bruising, skin color changes, pain, or discomfort in the surgery area. These may last for 1 to 2 weeks after your surgery. You may not see improvement in the look of your scar for some time. It can take up to year for your new scar to fully heal and fade.

Risks of scar revision surgery:

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Your skin may be sensitive in the area where the surgery was done. Nerves or blood vessels near your scar may be damaged during the surgery. The final look of your scar may be different than you expected. You may need other surgeries or procedures to further improve the look of your scar. You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening.

Other types of scar revision:

  • Dermabrasion is a procedure to remove the upper layers of a raised scar with a wire brush or other device. Local anesthesia may be used. This procedure can help to smooth out the surface of the scar so it blends with your surrounding skin. New skin will grow over the area.
  • Lasers and light treatments are procedures that change the surface of your skin. New, healthy skin forms at the scar site after this treatment.
  • Topical treatments and injections may be used to improve the look of a scar. Topical treatments may include silicone gels, tape, or compression. Injections may be used to shrink or fill a scar. An example is steroid medicine that is injected to shrink a scar. More than one injection is usually needed.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.
  • You notice a change in your heartbeat.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return to have your stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


  • Limit activity as directed. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you avoid putting force, tension, or pressure on your surgery area. Your provider may recommend that you limit certain activities while your incisions heal.
  • Care for your wound as directed. Follow your provider's directions on how to clean and care for your wounds.
  • If you had scar revision surgery on your face, keep your head elevated when you lie down. This helps decrease swelling.
  • Use cold compresses as directed to decrease swelling.
  • Do not expose your scar to sunlight because it can darken your scar.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.