Types of Scarring After an Accident
What are the types of scarring do we frequently see in people that have been injured in accidents?
These are several different types of scars that are common in people. The types of scarring discussed below are not exclusive to people that have been injured in accidents:
- Keloid scars. These scars are the result of an overly aggressive healing process. They extend beyond the original injury. Over time, a keloid scar may hamper movement. Treatments include surgery to remove the scar, steroid injections, or silicone sheets to flatten the scar. Smaller keloids can be treated using cryotherapy (freezing therapy using liquid nitrogen). You can also prevent keloid formation by using pressure treatment or gel pads with silicone when you are injured. Keloid scars are most common among people with dark skin. Anyone can get a keloid scar, but they're more common in people with dark skin, such as people from Africa and African-Caribbean and south Indian communities.
- Contracture scars. If your skin has been burned, you may have a contracture scar. These scars tighten skin, which can impair your ability to move. Contracture scars may also go deeper, affecting muscles and nerves.
- Hypertrophic scars. These are raised, red scars that are similar to keloids but do not go beyond the boundary of the injury. Treatments include injections of steroids to reduce inflammation or silicone sheets, which flatten the scar.
- Acne scars. If you've had severe acne, you probably have the scars to prove it. There are many types of acne scars, ranging from deep pits to scars that are angular or wavelike in appearance. Treatment options depend on the types of acne scars you have.
How are scars corrected?
Scar treatments may include:
- Over-the-counter or prescription creams, ointments, or gels.These products can be used to treat scars that are caused by cuts or other injuries or wounds. If you are under the care of a plastic surgeon and your scarring is from cosmetic or plastic surgery, ask your surgeon if over-the-counter treatment is an option. If not, there are prescriptions that may help. Often, treatments can include steroids or certain oral antihistamines for scars that cause itching and are very sensitive. Likewise, if you have scarring from severe acne, ask your dermatologist for advice. Your doctor can also recommend or use pressure treatment or silicone gel sheeting to help treat scars or as preventive care.
- Surgical removal or treatment. There are many options to treat deeper scars depending on your particular case. These include skin grafts, excision, dermabrasion, or laser surgery. In a skin graft, the surgeon uses skin from another area of your body. This is often used with people who've had burns. If you've got scarring that impairs function, surgery can help address the functional problems. If you've recently had surgery that has caused scars, it is best to wait at least one year before making a decision about scar treatment. Many scars fade and become less noticeable over time.
Injections. You may get steroid injections to treat scars that stick out, such as keloids or hypertrophic scars. Your doctor may use this on its own or with other treatments.
Other types of injections, such as collagen or other "fillers," may be useful for some types of pitted scarring, although these are not usually permanent solutions.