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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The principle of this treatment procedure is;

  • Removing the 50-150 micron uppermost skin layer of the scarred area including the intact skin between the scars by dermabrasion. 
  • Revision of widened scars.
  • Covering the raw surface by thin (0.1-0.2 mm) skin grafts (patches) harvested from thigh region to hide the underlying scars. 

The scars are not removed but hidden under the skin graft applied over the scars. If the scars are very wide, deep and dense, it may not be possible to hide all the scars effectively. You can have an idea about the results by checking out the before after photos. 

There must be at least 8 weeks between your recovery from Covid-19 disease and surgery date. 

No it is not an obligation but I strongly recommend to get at least 2 shots of Covid-19 vaccination prior to surgery for your safety. 

There must be at least 2 weeks between your last vaccination and the surgery date. 

You are supposed to organize your flight and hotel yourself. Booking a hotel in Ataşehir District is advised for ease of transportation to the hospital and my office. 

You should arrive to Istanbul-Turkey at least 2 days before the operation date.

You and your companion are supposed to be in İstanbul at least 2 days prior to the surgery date.  You will stay one night at the hospital. The day after the surgery you will transfer to your hotel and come back to my office  4 days after for the first control. After the first control, if there is no any general or local complication, you will be able to fly back to your home. If you wish to see the surgery sites totally healed, then you should stay 2 weeks total in İstanbul.

At the first control (4 days after the surgery), the splint, the bandage and skin staplers or sutures over the skin patch will be removed and a thin bandage will be applied again. The skin graft donor area (thigh) will not be opened.

You will open the bandage on your operated arm 1 week after the first control. You will open the skin graft donor site 10 days after the first control (2 weeks after the surgery) (it will heal spontaneously). After this 2-week surgery and healing period, you will use a tubular bandage and some ointments for nearly one year.

There is no age limit for having dermabrasion and thin skin grafting surgery. However, the teenagers under 18 years old need the written permission of their legal reprasentatives. 

The age of the self-harm scars is not important technically. The most important factor is elimination of the conditions that cause self-mutilation behaviour before the surgery. The candidate patient must have solved the problems motivating her or him to self-harming. The patient should be psychologically stable and be ready for the surgical treatment. 

Some ointments, homemade remedies, chemical peeling solutions or laser devices are promoted for removal of self-harm scars, however they do not solve the problem effectively. I have many patients who tried other methods and could not get a successful result. 

The time to see the final aesthetic result is approximately 2 years.The quality and rate of healing depends on several factors such as wound healing properties of the patient, creams used and skin color and type of the patient. 

I treat only those self-harm scars located over forearm and arm (not hand). I treat the scars over chest or thighs only in very selected cases. 

The skin graft donor site (thigh) heals in 2 weeks normally. Sometimes, spontaneous healing of the skin graft donor site may delay due to several reasons. The patients who do not obey strict bed rest and stands and walks too much face this problem in general. In rare cases, poor healing capacity of the patient may cause this delayed healing. Inadequate nutrition and vitamin deficiencies may casuse this problem. All the donor sites heals eventually, however more prominent scar develops over such delayed-healed donor sites.   

I only harvest the skin grafts from thigh region because the thickness of the skin graft is the key stone of the treatment. The skin graft should not be thinner or thicker than the ideal. Thigh area is the best place to harvest the skin graft accurately.  

It is not possible to remove the scars by dermabrasion unfortunately. Even if very deep dermabrasion is performed the scars are not erased totally and some complications such as keloid formation and pigmentation problems occur. I use dermabrasion to create a raw surface for skin graft application. I’d like to remind that the philosophy of my treatment method is not removing the scars but covering and consealing the scars permanently by skin grafts. 

There is no alternative material which is applicable, durable, stable and functional as much as your own skin at present. I think autologous (produced from your own cells) composite (dermis and epidermis together) cultured skin (produced in cell labs) will solve this problem in the future. Combined use of artificial or biologic dermal substitutes and autologous cultured epithelium (that can be tried for this purpose) do not provide a stable skin coverage against shearing forces. I worked in a burn center for many years and treat burn patients. I studied in the cell culture lab for 1 year to produce autologous skin. I can say that I have enough experience about this subject. 

There will be a less or more prominent scar over your skin graft donor site. Healing time, your wound healing quality and your skin color tone will determine the final aesthetic result. Hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation may develop and some additional treatments may be needed in rare patients. 

You can have laser epilation 2 years after the surgery. 

No, I do not perform surgery on pregnant patients. 

You will use some creams in the postoperative period and some of them are not used during pregnancy. If you learn that you got pregnant you should quit the creams and consult your obstetrician.  I advise to posppone your pregnancy at least 3-6 months after the operation. 

The total surface area of the scarred skin is the key factor determining the treatment policy. There is a limit of surface area that can be treated in one surgical session. If you send the photos of all scars that you want to be treated then I will inform you about the treatment strategy. 

There must be at least 1 month between two surgical sessions. 

I have treated few dark skinned patients and I have observed that color mismatch between the treated areas and surrounding intact skin is more comparing light-skinned patients. The skin graft and the donor site can be darker than the normal skin and some skin bleaching creams or laser may be needed.  

One of the most common method tried to hide the self-inflicted scars is tattooing. However, athrophic scarred skin is not dull, it is shiny under sun light and the scars can easily be noticed even though they had tattooed.   I have many patients who had tried tattoo and they were not satisfied with the result and consulted me for treatment. I’d like to remind that treatment of tattoo covered self-harm scars is more complex. 

If you wish you can get a tattoo over the skin grafted area 2 years after the surgery.

Tattoo over the skin grafted area. Tattoo over skin graft 1

Tattoo over skin graft 2 Tattoo over skin graft 2

Tattoo Over Skin Graft 3 Tattoo Over Skin Graft 3

The treatment fee is not standard, it is determined by the extend and complexity of the scars. 

The skin grafted area is not painful. You will feel some burning sensation over the skin graft donor site (thigh) in the first day especially when you stand up. However, this burning sensation can be managed with simple pain killers such as paracetamol. 

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