Causes and Treatment For Facial Scars
Sadly, scarring and disfigurement are common consequences of many accidents, and can be both difficult and expensive to treat. They can also be painful and uncomfortable and involve psychological and emotional trauma, impeding the victim’s ability to return to his or her normal, everyday activities.
The skin is a sensitive organ. Burns (thermal and/or chemical), injuries, traumas, and surgeries can all lead to scarring under certain circumstances. Typically, the severity of the scar depends upon the depth, size, and location of the injury.
Several factors are considered in determining the value of a scar in a personal injury case:
- Age: The age of the person. The damage for scarring of a young person is far greater than for an older person because the younger person is forced to live more years with the scar;
- Sex: It is recognized that scars on a female are more objectionable than on a male;
- Appearance and Location: If the scar is located on a portion of the body exposed and not easily covered by clothing like the face, neck or hands, it requires greater compensation than if it was located on a part of the body that is normally covered up by hair of clothes;
- Marital Status: An unmarried person with a visible scar is likely to suffer greater anxieties than a married person, and scars may affect his or her opportunities for marriage;
- Embarrassment: Humiliation, shame and embarrassment from scarring are oftentimes considered in assessing damages.
Causes and Prevention
In addition to accidents causing facial scarring and disfigurement, certain procedures such as chemical peels result in scarring. Antibiotics and steroid medications are typically used to soften the appearance of scars. Certain types of laser resurfacing, such as ablative, also pose a slight risk of permanent scarring. Any deep laceration that is not immediately treated can typically lead to scarring, as scarring is the body’s way of responding in order to heal the area. Facial scarring can also result from bog bite attacks, work injuries, burn injuries caused in fire & electrocution accidents, cuts and lacerations.
Types of Scars
Medical professions typically diagnose scarring visually, though sometimes using a microscope can help a physician understand the extent of the scar and whether it has reached other tissue layers, nerves, or underlying muscles.
The various types of scars include:
- Keloid: Most common amongst people with dark skin; typically the result of an overly aggressive healing process and extends beyond the injury itself; can, over time, hamper movement; treatments include surgeries, steroid injections, flattening the scar using silicone sheets, and cryotherapy.
- Contracture: Result when skin has been burned; typically tighten skin and can hamper movement; can also sometimes affect the nerves and muscles.
- Hypertrophic: Similar to keloids but do not go beyond injury; treatments include steroid injections and flattening via silicone sheets.
- Acne: These scars can range from pits to angular or wavelike in appearance.
Scars develop at the site of the injury or tissue damage and can first appear purple or red, but gradually become lighter and flatter over time.
There are several types of surgeries available to treat facial scarring, ranging from dermabrasion, to laser surgery, to skin grafts and excision. For people who have suffered from burns, skin grafts—where skin is taken from one part of the body and used elsewhere—is often used. Surgery is sometimes used when scarring impedes function or sometimes even to cosmetically treat a scar. Dermabrasion involves using abrasive devices to help flatten more elevated, thick scars. Some people also use cosmetic fillers to temporarily address more depressed scars and help bring the skin closer to the surface.
Personal Injury Attorneys Who Care
Facial scarring and associated trauma after an accident can cause severe pain and limit your ability to return to your normal life. No matter where you are, our attorneys are here to help. Contact our office for a free case review and consultation today, and we will get you back on the road to recovery.
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