Scars and Burns
SCAR AND BURN REVISION
The human body has an amazing ability to repair damage and heal itself after injury and illness. When dealing with minor wounds and damage, our bodies can actually regenerate damaged cells, erasing all signs of the injury. Serious wounds such as deep incisions and full-thickness burns, however, overwhelm the body’s regenerative powers. When cell regeneration is no longer possible, the body begins to produce a collagenous glue called granulation scar tissue. The build-up of this scar tissue leaves behind a visible marker of the damage done to the skin—a scar—a constant reminder of the trauma experienced by the body and the mind of the victim.
For individuals who have undergone severe injury or trauma, visible scars are an inevitable part of the healing process and can have a devastating impact on the victim’s appearance and undermine their self-confidence, especially if those scars are widespread and located in highly visible areas such as the face, neck, and hands. In the most extreme cases, scars can be uncomfortable, even painful, and inhibit functionality. For burn victims especially, the extreme level of tissue damage often leads to contractures, when the skin and the underlying tissue pull together during scar formation, contracting the tissue and restricting movement. When the tissues of the face are burned, the resulting scar can leave behind a mask-like tightness, distorting facial features and limiting facial movement and expression. The goal of scar revision is to break up and remove the scar tissue to minimize visible scarring and feature deformity, and restore the patient’s appearance as much as possible.
At The Healing Curve in West Hollywood, California, we believe that “recovery” from a burn or severe wound does not mean simply returning to physical health. “Recovery” also means emotional recovery: surviving a traumatic event should not have to mean sacrificing your appearance or your self-esteem. Started by Board Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Gary Motykie, The Healing Curve is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals find the financial and emotional support to obtain scar revision and burn reconstruction that is absolutely key to restoring their emotional as well as their physical health. For those who have been disfigured by a severe burn, who have significant scarring as a result of an injury or traumatic event, or who have been seriously scarred by a poorly-conducted surgery, skilled reconstructive surgeons such as Dr. Motykie now have the ability to remove much of the visible results of the trauma, enabling a return to a healthy, naturally-beautiful, “normal” appearance.
SURGICAL OPTIONS FOR SCAR REVISION AND BURN RECONSTRUCTION
When scarring is widespread and/or highly visible, but only consists of mild discoloration, non-surgical scar revision techniques such as chemical peels, laser resurfacing, and steroid injections can significantly reduce their visibility. For more severe scarring, especially if contracture is involved or the scars are uncomfortable or painful, surgical scar revision may be required. While no scar can be removed completely, there are a variety of surgical techniques that, when performed by a skilled, precise reconstructive surgeon, can eliminate the restriction and discomfort caused by the scar, as well as reduce its visibility and disfiguring impact on the patient’s appearance.
The appropriate surgical technique will be unique for each individual patient, and will depend on the type of scar, its size and age, and the patient’s medical history. In some cases, the surgeon may be able to remove the scar tissue by making elliptical-shaped incisions around the scar and physically removing the built-up tissue, then carefully suturing the skin at different depths to avoid the formation of new scar tissue. For scars that are raised or elevated, the surgeon can gradually shave down the scar tissue until the exposed skin more closely matches the surrounding skin. When contracture is a problem and there is sufficient healthy skin around the wound to cover the scarred area, a “local flap” procedure may be appropriate. The surgeon will cut the scar tissue in a Z- or W-shape to release the tension on the tissues, then move the healthy skin to cover the scar tissue. This may involve the use of tissue expansion techniques, which help the skin adequately stretch to make the reconstruction possible. In the cases of the most severe scars, skin grafting and “free-tissue flap” procedures may be required, in which tissue and skin is harvested from a donor site on the patient’s own body and moved to cover the scar tissue. All of these procedures involve intensive pre-operative planning, skillful surgical techniques, and even artistry to ensure that the surgical procedures do not result in additional visible scarring.
THE HEALING CURVE CAN HELP!
The Heading Curve, located in West Hollywood, California is committed to helping burn victims and others who have been permanently scarred get access to the state-of-the-art surgical techniques they need to erase the visible signs of trauma. The Healing Curve is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing funding and support to individuals who do not have the financial means to undergo scar revision surgery. The Healing Curve’s founder—Dr. Gary Motykie—is a skilled, experienced, Board Certified plastic surgeon who conducted part of his medical training at one of the nation’s premier burn and reconstructive hospitals. While The Healing Curve was originally founded to help breast cancer survivors, the organization has expanded its mission to helping all victims of disease or trauma obtain the cutting-edge reconstructive technologies they need, because everyone deserves a full recovery, a natural, beautiful appearance, and a happy, healthy life.
If you are a burn victim or have a serious, disfiguring scar, but cannot afford the reconstructive surgery you require for complete recovery, contact us today to find out how The Healing Curve can help. We look forward to speaking with you today!