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Dear Doctor McCollough: Recently my son was bitten by a dog on the face. What can be done with the resulting scar?

Dear Reader: First, keep in mind that any time an incision or injury penetrates all layers of the skin some scarring will result. The appearance of most scars or blemishes, however, may be improved by well planned and carefully executed surgery. Sometimes dermabrasion of the scar can improve its appearance. In some cases, it is also possible to excise the existing scar and replace it with a “better” scar that may run with natural wrinkle lines and appear less noticeable. All scars, whether they are a result of an injury or revisional surgery heal differently in children. They tend to stay red and lumpy longer, than adults with the same type of injury. In order to adequately access your son’s specific condition I need to know how long it has been since the corrective surgery was done after the accident and I would also like to see photos of the scar. Please send those to In the meantime I found some helpful information on The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) website. I am printing your article, so perhaps someone can benefit from the tips below: How to avoid dog bites:•Never run from or scream at a dog. •Be “still like a tree” when an unfamiliar dog comes up to you. •If a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball and stay still. •Don’t look a dog right in the eye. •Don’t play with a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first. As an owner : •Spay/neuter your dog. •Don’t play aggressive games with your dog. •Your dog should be part of the family. Unsocialized “outdoor” dogs are more likely to bite than “indoor” dogs. If you would like any more information on this or other health related topics, call the McCollough Institute for Appearance and Health at 251-967-7600, email If you would like to ask Dr. McCollough a question, please submit the question on our Contact Us page.

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