How Soon Can Scar Revision Be Done On My Forehead Scar?

Q: My daughter was in a MVA in October 2010. She has an Y-shaped scar on her forehead and 2 smaller scars on her left cheek and left ear. We have consulted with a pediatric plastic surgeon, but would like a second opinion on how soon can scar revision begin and the best treatment for the best long-term outcome.

A: Scars on a face are always very emotionally disturbing. Those concerns are only magnified exponentially when those scars are now on your own child’s face. Many parents, and teenagers, are very interested to get started on a scar revision/treatment program as soon as possible for very understandable reasons.

When and whether scar revision is of benefit is going to vary based on multiple factors including the type of scar, its location and what skin texture issues it has. The classic teaching in plastic surgery is that scar revision should wait at least one year after the injury. While this can be true for some scars, it certainly is not true for all of them. The rule of thumb that I use is…will time be of benefit or not to the scar’s visibility problems. If a scar is thin and red, time will eventually make the redness disappear as the scar matures. One may want to try and hasten that up with some pulsed light therapies (IPL, BBL) and this is perfectly appropriate as it is harmless to the scar and quick and easy to do. If the scar edges are mismatched, wide, or uneven, these features will not be improved with time and earlier scar intervention is then justified.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana