Scarless healing with bioscaffolds may be on the horizon, but meanwhile millions more scars will form. Patients seeking to get rid of scars have several options, depending on the depth of the scar, says Elliott H. Rose, director of the Aesthetic Surgery Center in New York City. Superficial ones can be reduced, smoothed down and blended into the surrounding skin by steroid creams or injections and by a surgical sanding technique known as dermabrasion. Lasers can greatly diminish some scars by instantly vaporizing the outer layers of skin. Silicone gel sheets, mineral oils and vitamin E may improve new scars. For Liana Gedz, whose unstable physician, apparently proud of his work, carved his initials, "AZ," into her belly after giving her a cesarean section (photograph), Rose says he would do a mini¿tummy tuck--that way, even the C-section scar would be hidden.
For a more severe and deeper scar, surgeons will perform Z-plasty, a technique that repositions the scar to the natural crease lines of the skin. If a large area of skin has been lost, as with burn victims, a surgeon will remove the entire scar and shift a piece of healthy skin, along with the underlying fat, blood vessels and muscles, to the injured site. In cases where a flap is not possible, a regular skin graft is used.