Will A Tracheostomy Scar Revision Improve The Appearance Of My Neck?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I was in a bad car accident over 15 years ago. I had a tracheostomy to enable me to breathe. But it has left a terrible scar. Growing up through high school, college, and even some times today; people tease me about having a “hickey.” Also even children who I do not even know will point to me to their mothers after they see me because they notice the scar on my neck. I am tired of being teased by people I know and even young children who do not even know me at all. Would I be able to have tracheostomy scar revision to remove the scar. (The doctor “fashioned” the scar to look like a cross but since it’s over 10 years old, the scar does not resemble a scar. 

A: I think there is no doubt that your tracheostomy scar had a lot of room for improvement. I would not use the term tracheostomy scar ‘removal’ as that would be impossible to never have any scar on your neck. But minimizing it is the realistic goal so the proper term would be tracheostomy scar revision or tracheostomy scar reduction. This would require complete horizontal scar excision, surrounding skin underming, possible dermal-graft placed underneath and then a linear layered closure done. While initially his would be just a fine line scar, it would take a few months to see if any scar widening developed. (although never to the degree that you have now) One should even think about a second stage revision or laser resurfacing for optimal improvement should the scar become a little wide although I would hope this would be unnecessary. This is a procedure that could be done general or IV sedation an an outpatient procedure. There essentially is no recovery from it other than scar healing.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana