Is My Son Too Young For Scar Revision?

Q : My son is 5 years old and he has three scars on his face that we would like to have improved. The first scar is a laceration scar that is located above his eyebrow that happened about 2 years ago. The other two scars are minor scars that just never went away. We are just looking to see what options we have for scar revision and if he is even old enough to receive surgical treatment for his scars.

A: Age of the patient is rarely a reason that scar revision can not be done. The most important issue regarding age is how old is the scar? Scars that are immature, usually less than 6 months old, are often too ‘young’ for treatment as their appearance is still evolving. Scars that are raised, red or have initially appearing uneven skin edges will usually have improvement in these features as healing progresses.

Time is a scar’s best friend unless the scar has physical characteristics that time does not improve. One of the time-resistant features of a scar is width. As scars heal they will not get more narrow. Often the opposite will occur, they will get wider due to the effects of skin tension on them. For this reason, I may do scar revision early in very wide scars as waiting further only loses time in getting to a point of a better appearing scar.

On a different scar note, one of the most frequent misconceptions about what makes scars look better is that of laser resurfacing. It is commonly believed that the laser is the primary tool used in scar revision. This is completely false. It rarely can make a significant difference in how a scar looks. It’s role is often as an adjunctive tool after surgical scar revision is done.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana