Hypertrophic Scars

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Hypertrophic scars are raised, often a darker colour than the surrounding skin, but they remain within the parameters of the wound.  Hypertrophic scars can feel itchy, be very noticeable and can cause problems with tightness and mobility of the skin.  Over time these scars are likely to get better, often lessening in height and lightening in colour.  However, sometimes this does not occur and you may need to seek help in making their appearance reduced.  They ought to show some improvement in appearance after a year, and if they do not so then they may need to be examined to determine if they are keloid scars or not. 

When Hypertrophic scars are most likely to form

Hypertrophic scars are most common after burn injuries, but they cannot be completely predicted.  A hypertrophic scar could occur after any wound, especially if you are susceptible to them.

Why these scars occur

Hypertrophic scars occur due to an over-production of collagen when the scar is being formed.  It may take up to two months for a hypertrophic scar to start to emerge, and they may continue to appear worse over the next six months.  The reason for the reddened colour is due to your body trying to get as much blood to the area in order for it to heal well.  This creates many new blood vessels, and can mean that too much blood is carried there leading to a change in colour.

Where Hypertrophic scars occur

Hypertrophic scars can occur after surgery or after any wound starts to heal.  Generally they are more troublesome if positioned close to a joint, and can be painful and restricting.  It is more likely that you will get a hypertrophic scar if you are young, have a darker skin tone or if your family has a known history of these scars.  If you have a history of hypertrophic scarring it is a good idea to inform your surgeon if you have to have any surgery. 

How best to reduce these scars

Hypertrophic scars can be dramatically improved through surgical scar reduction methods, or by using laser treatments.  These treatments can help to reposition your scar to make it less visible, as well as reducing any height that your scar may have attained.  If they are very raised then it is likely that pressure garments can be applied to help even up your skin, flattening the scar back to your skins normal height.  These can be applied through your GP, or are also available through some pharmacies.  Basically pressure garments help by tightening the skin, allowing the skin to rid itself of any excess blood around the wound and helping to condense any collagen.  These may need to be worn for up to a year and a half. 

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