Is Self-Harm Scar Removal Surgery Necessary?

January 27, 2022 Kim Berkley

If you carry the proof of your history of self-harm on your skin, you may have thought about what life would be like without those scars. But is self-harm scar removal surgery necessary?

Why I Won't Get Self-Harm Scar Removal Surgery

I have never had self-harm scar removal surgery, nor am I planning to get those scars—or any of my other scars—removed any time soon. This is for a few reasons.

First, having experienced open-heart surgery firsthand, I know I never want to have surgery again unless it's absolutely medically necessary. While self-harm scar removal surgery is a completely different type of operation, the idea of going through anything even vaguely like that again is simply not appealing to me. Everyone experiences these things differently, of course, and my own experience was far from the worst-case scenario. (I survived, after all.) But for me, the emotional cost of having my scars removed far outweighs the emotional cost of keeping them.

However, it's important to note that in my case, my self-harm scars are next to invisible. They are so small and so faded now that unless I purposely point them out to you, you would likely never notice them. I know they are there, of course; my eyes still catch on them if the light hits my arm the right way or if my fingers happen to pass across their ever-so-slightly raised surfaces. But they don't upset me anymore, not the way that they used to.

For me, they are a reminder—of everything I went through, yes, but also of my healing process and how far I've come.

Is Self-Harm Scar Removal Surgery Ever Necessary?

I don't want self-harm scar removal surgery for myself, and I'd be hesitant to recommend it to anyone else. (I am not a doctor, for one thing.)

However, that doesn't mean that nobody should have their scars removed. I don't think it is my place to tell you what to do with your body, nor do I know enough about your unique situation to be able to give any real advice. Just keep in mind that such an operation would be permanent—you can't get those scars back later if you change your mind. (In fact, if there's any chance that missing your scars might trigger a relapse, you might want to wait and think about it a little longer before deciding to get surgery.)

If your scars are small, difficult to see, or if you have any qualms whatsoever about having an operation or removing those parts of yourself, I would strongly suggest waiting. You can always have them removed later, once you're sure. And if your only reason to remove them is that someone else is making you feel like you should, I think it would be better to seek out professional help to deal with that toxic relationship rather than get a surgery you don't want.


  • What if your scars physically interfere with your ability to live a full life?
  • What if your scars consistently negatively impact your emotional and/or mental health?
  • What if you have religious or personal beliefs that make it impossible to keep your scars?
  • What if your scars are a trigger for your self-harm, anxiety, depression, et cetera?

In all of these cases, my personal take is that, yes, it is perfectly reasonable (and perhaps even necessary) to have your scars removed. Of course, these are not the only possible valid reasons for wanting self-harm scar removal surgery.

Should You Get Self-Harm Scar Removal Surgery?

In the end, the only reason for removing your scars that truly matters is this: You know, without a doubt, that this is what you want. If this is the case, far be it from me—or anyone else—to tell you what to do.

My only advice, no matter what, is to take as much time as you need to be absolutely sure of your decision before taking that next step.

I'm not exactly proud of my scars, as I know some people are. But I'm not ashamed of them, either. They are a part of me, one I chose to keep and heal on my own terms. Whether you choose to keep yours, as I have, or shed them to begin anew—that's entirely up to you.

Have you had your self-harm scars removed, or have you thought about doing so? Feel free to share your thoughts, questions, or stories in the comments.

APA Reference
Kim Berkley (2022, January 27). Is Self-Harm Scar Removal Surgery Necessary?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Kim Berkley

Find Kim on Instagram, Facebook and her blog.

February, 16 2022 at 4:42 pm

What if it didn't cut through your skin but left a scar would it heal? Mine is red and bumpy but I didn't cut it there was no blood instead I put the blade across my arm and it left bumpy marks. How long do you think until it heals and what could I do to help with the healing process and what to avoid during the healing process please help

February, 16 2022 at 4:45 pm

Nevermind forget about my last comment don't respond it's fine

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