Acne scars reach deeper than the skin, having an impact on self confidence and self esteem. For those of us with acne scars, it gets harder and harder to look in the mirror every day and to see no change despite buying and trying every conceivable lotion, facial cream, face mask and drug available. Many scar revision procedures are currently available, from dermabrasion to chemical peels, laser and surgery. They are designed to improve the appearance of your scars and get you back to the social life you crave.
Consultation with Dr. Kulak at the Naderi Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Care Clinic at the Herndon, Virginia or Chevy Chase, Maryland location will help you decide on the best procedure for you. Depending upon the particular procedure, Dr. Kulak may perform the scar revision procedure in his Herndon or Chevy Chase office or in one of the INOVA system hospitals which include Fair Oaks Hospital, Loudoun Hospital, Fairfax Hospital, or at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda Maryland. MAC (monitored anesthesia care) or local anesthesia may be used. MAC uses sedatives at a low enough dose that the patient remains responsive and does not require assisted ventilation.
Z-plasty is a plastic surgery technique that can improve the appearance of scars by creating irregularities, making the scar less noticeable. This precise technique often realigns the scar so that it fits into natural skin folds or creases. This surgical technique may be followed by one of the skin resurfacing procedures once the scar has healed.
Dermabrasion is a mechanical abrasion technique that will reduce the scar. The dermabrasion procedure is not done in Dr. Kulak’s clinic at either the Herndon, Virginia and Chevy Chase, Maryland locations. Dermabrasions are done in the hospital at Fairfax Virginia. After applying a local anesthetic, often with general anesthesia or sedation, Dr. Kulak uses a wire brush to scrape away the outer layers of skin. This will cause bleeding and your face will be swollen and red. Scabs will form and underneath the scabs, the new skin will come in. Recovery time depends on the deepness of the abrasion but your face will be red and sensitive for at least a week or more.
The chemical peel is another skin resurfacing technique in which a chemical acid solution is used to remove the top layers of skin. The peel may be mild, medium or strong and Dr. Kulak will be able to choose the most appropriate peel for your situation. The mild and medium peels address small wrinkles and skin discolorations. Application of these peels provides a refreshed appearance to the face. The strongest or deepest peel, the phenol peel, addresses deeper issues such as acne scars. The entire face may be done and the process has a bleaching effect making it unsuitable for darker skinned patients. The lighter peels procedure may be done in Dr. Kulak’s Clinic and generally take a few minutes. Local anesthesia and sedation are often used. Deeper peels require anesthesia and are done at the hospital. The peel is applied to the face in zones. The peel can also be done under anesthesia at the hospital for more patient comfort. The healing time is 3-5 days or about 1-2 weeks for deeper peels although redness can remain for much longer that can be covered by makeup. Deep wrinkles, scars and discolorations are improved and the skin is radiant and much younger looking. VI Peel is the most common in-office peel performed by The Naderi Center Facial Plastic Surgeons.
Laser resurfacing is the third type of skin resurfacing procedure. Both the carbon dioxide or CO2 laser and the Erbium laser are powerful ablative lasers and may be used for this purpose. The CO2 laser injures the skin with intense waves of light at the 10600 wavelength on the light spectrum. This stimulates healing. Side effects include pain, swelling and itching. Redness in the treated area may persist. The Erbium laser has a faster recovery period than the carbon dioxide laser with a less deep penetration. Anesthesia is required for both laser procedures, and multiple treatments spaced some months apart are beneficial when the fractionated lasers are used such as FRAXEL.
Recovery from scar revision generally takes seven to ten days or more but multiple stages may be necessary. Acne scar revision is a very difficult problem to fix and only improvements can be made with multiple treatments over long periods of time. Some swelling and bruising may occur, and the area of the scar may appear red at first. Most patients can return to work within 1-2 weeks. If the resurfacing option is chosen, it may be one to two weeks for recovery.
There is no reason to let acne scars detract from your beauty. Call for more information or book a consultation with Dr. Kulak at The Naderi Center for Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Care Offices in Chevy Chase, Maryland, (301) 222-2020 or Herndon, Virginia, (703) 481-0002.