When a scar is of the contracture type, surgery generally involves removing the scar tissue entirely. Skin flaps, composed of adjacent healthy, unscarred skin, are then lifted and moved to form a new incision line. Where a flap is not possible, a skin graft may be used. A graft involves taking a section of skin tissue from one area and attaching it to another, and time must be allowed following surgery for new blood vessels and soft tissue to form. Z-plasty is a method to move a scar from one area to another, usually into a natural fold or crease in the skin to minimize its visibility. While Z-plasty does not remove all signs of a scar, it does make it less noticeable.
Dermabrasion and laser resurfacing are methods a surgeon uses to make “rough or elevated” scars less prominent, by removing part of the upper layers of skin with an abrading tool or laser light. Clearly, the scar will remain, but it will be smoother and less visible.
Keloid or hypertropic scars are often treated first with injections of steroids to reduce size. If this is not satisfactory, the scars can be removed surgically, and the incisions closed with fine stitches, often resulting in less prominent scars.