Facial Scars & Skin Cancer

Scar Revision

Scars are visible signs that remain after a wound has healed. Scars may be raised or recessed, different in color and texture. Those who have an unsightly or disfiguring scar on the face or neck may be very self-conscious about it. There is hope however, with appropriate treatment, the appearance of most scars can be improved significantly.

Facial scars can be unsightly and can often be a source of unwelcome attention. While facial scars cannot be completely removed, they can be erased by utilizing some crafty techniques. A human eye is drawn to large linear objects and tends to ignore small irregularly shaped objects. Some animals have small geometric shapes on their fur, feathers or scales to help them hide from predators or prey. Surgeons caught on to this geometric illusion and use that to create small shapes within a scar to camouflage it. The image below shows an example where a geometric broken line closure was used to hide a hypertrophic scar.

facial scar removal Tacoma

Before – After

Laser Resurfacing for facial scars & skin cancer

Laser resurfacing can be a great adjunct to treatment of facial scars. There are several lasers that are used for this purpose. Nd:YAG 1064 nm laser can help reduce redness, hypertrophy and vascularity within a scar. This is an infrared laser that targets red pigment.

Deep fractional ablative lasers (carbon dioxide or Erbium:YAG lasers) have had some promising results in treatment of hypertrophic scars. They work by making small deep pinholes in the scar. The exact mechanism of action is still unclear but it is believed that this type of treatment reduces scar tension, a common cause of hypertrophic scar formation.

Traditional resurfacing of facial scars can be accomplished with carbon dioxide (CO2) or Erbium:YAG lasers. This particularly works well for atrophic or depressed scars as well as acne scars.

Injection therapy for facial scars

Facial scars can also respond to corticosteroid injections as well as chemotherapeutic agents like 5-Flourouracil. This technique works well in hypertrophic or keloid scars.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the #1 most common type of cancer in the U.S., and it is increasing each year. In fact, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer than all the other cancers combined. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

There are three basic types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and the worst, melanoma. Many of these cancers develop on the face, head or neck because these are the areas that are most exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Skin cancer requires excision of the entire tumor with surrounding skin margins. This can sometimes leave defects that require plastic surgery techniques to repair or minimize scarring. The face and facial structures, especially eyelids, nose or lips are particularly delicate. Due to the visibility of these areas and its impact on one’s appearance, Dr. Shvidler is often consulted to esthetically enhance and return areas to complete and normal function. Dr Shvidler can perform cancer reconstruction to minimize deformities.


Following reconstruction, you can expect a few days of swelling and soreness. Dressings are usually removed the day after surgery. Sutures are usually removed between 5-7 days. Make-up can be used at the time to camouflage bruising. Swelling and bruising usually diminish by 7-10 days. You can resume most normal activities then, except intense exercise, which is usually ok after approximately 3 weeks. Most patients return to work within 1-2 weeks.