Can The Burn Scar On My Leg Be Improved With Scar Revision?

Q:  I have a burn scar on my leg from several years ago. I am sending a picture of my burnt leg, which I can stretch and bend easily meaning I can move it freely. I would like to know what you can suggest for getting the best scar result. I have heard about scars and that its impossible to make them disappear. Thanks in advance.

A:Thank you for sending your picture of your leg burn scar. Burn scars (deep 2nd and  degree burns) create the worst outcomes in terms of eventually doing much with the scar because they have changed the entire thickness of the skin into one complete scar. The tissues are just never normal and do not have the ability for much normal tissue regeneration.

The good news is that you can move your leg  freely without scar contracture or restriction. The bad news is that I don’t believe there is anything that will provide a substantial improvement in its appearance by any form of scar revision. Hypertrophic burn scars have changed the entire thickness of the remaining skin into one large white scar. It may be possible to get some improvement with combined fractional and CO2 laser resurfacing but the improvement may not be significant enough to justify the effort. That form of laser treatment may make it a little flatter but it will not make the scar disappear nor make it look like normal skin. Those goals are not possible. If the objective is some level of improvement then such effort may be worth it. But if the objective is to make it look like there is no scar there then any form of treatment should not be pursued as disappointment will surely follow.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana