What Type Of Scar Revision Will Help My Arm Scars From Self-Mutilation?

Q:  Dr. Eppley, I would like to know if anything can be done to improve my arms scars. I have a history of being a ‘cutter’ but am now over that self-mutilating problem. I would like to put the reminders of this phase of my life behind me. I have sent you some pictures of the arm scars. The first picture is the left arm and the second is the right. I’ll look forward to hearing if there is anything that can be done to make these less noticeable. Thanks for your time.

A: Thank you for sending your pictures. Due to the large number of transverse scars on each arm, I see no significant improvement that could be obtained by any type of individual scar revision or laser resurfacing methods. Those approaches would be hopeless in your arm scar problem. In a few of these type extensive arm scar cases, I have done complete removal of the scarred forrearm segments and replacement it with a skin graft. This is a more radical approach, and replaces one scar problem for another, but at least the social stigmata of the visible scarred forearms is gone and may offer one a better social opportunity for explanation.That may be a satisfactory approach for the right patient.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana