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Cosmetic Procedures: Scars

What Are Possible Treatments for Scars?

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 antihistamine creams 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 sheetings 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.

 

Does Insurance Coverage Apply to Scar Treatments?

If your scar physically impairs you in any way, you may be able to get coverage from your health insurer. Ask your doctor to write a letter detailing your particular case. Your doctor can also take photos to support your case.

If you are undergoing scar treatment for cosmetic purposes, you will most likely have to pay for it all yourself. If you have scars from cosmetic surgery, make sure you know what your insurer will cover. Health insurers usually don't pay for any cosmetic surgery that isn't medically necessary. 

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