Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Provider photo for Eric Lin

Eric Lin, MD

Plastic Surgery

Welcome to My Doctor Online. I appreciate the opportunity to be involved in your care and hope to make it easier for you to meet your health care needs. My colleagues and I have developed this website so you can e-mail me, check your lab results, refill prescriptions, access our many online programs or get information about a particular health topic that we have evaluated or written ourselves – any time it's convenient for you.

My Offices

Santa Rosa Medical Center
Appt/Advice: 707-566-5288

See all office information »

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Scar formation is a normal step in the healing process. A burn, injury, surgery, or other trauma leads to the formation of scar tissue.

Factors affecting scar formation include:

  • Depth and size of the wound or incision
  • Location and mechanism of the injury
  • Age, heredity, gender, and ethnicity

We will recommend treatment options based on the type and severity of scarring. Treatment may include:

  • Topical treatments
  • Minimally invasive procedures
  • Surgical revision

Treatment may provide an improved appearance. However, the scar will never go away completely.

Types of Scars

The kind of scar you have will influence the treatment we recommend. The various types of scars include:

  • Discoloration or surface irregularities caused by acne, minor injury, and prior surgical incision may be cosmetically improved by surgery or other treatments.
  • Hypertrophic scars are raised red areas over the original wound. They are caused by your body producing too much collagen, a normal process in scar formation. The scar tissue may be darker or lighter than surrounding tissue.
  • Keloids are a type of hypertrophic scar. The main differences are that the scar is larger, extends beyond the original wound, and may continue to grow. Keloids can cause discomfort and may itch and pucker. They are more common in darker skinned people and are more likely to appear on certain parts of the body, such as the ears or chest. Although they can grow quite large, they are benign (noncancerous).
  • Contracture. The scarring causes the skin and underlying tissue to tighten, which may limit movement around the injured area. This occurs most often in burn patients and in other injuries where a wound occurs over a joint. 

Scar Revision

Scar revision is surgery that helps to improve the appearance of a scar or restore function in certain cases. For such procedures, we will give local, intravenous, or general anesthesia depending on your specific situation. Postoperative pain medication may be given to manage discomfort. Risks associated with surgical scar revision include bleeding, infection, complications of anesthesia, and healing problems. There is also a chance that the procedure will not improve the appearance of your scar. We will explain the risks associated with your specific surgical treatment. Surgical treatments include the following:

  • Scar excision is sometimes recommended for deeper scars. The old scar is removed. The skin around your scar is carefully repaired. The new scar is usually narrower and may be aligned differently than it was initially. We may recommend steroid injections or even radiation therapy to reduce the likelihood of hypertrophic or keloid scars from recurring.
  • Skin grafting is used to treat an extensive wound when skin has been lost. There are two types, with a thin layer or a full thickness of skin being moved from a healthy part of the body to the injured site.
  • Tissue expansion involves a silicone balloon placed under the skin and slowly filled with sterile saline solution. This stretches healthy skin. Once the skin has been stretched sufficiently, the balloon and the scar are removed and the stretched skin replaces the scar tissue. More than one surgery may be required to obtain the desired result.

What to Think About

You will have to decide if scar revision surgery is right for you. It may be a good option if:

  • You are bothered by the scar.
  • You are healthy and do not have a condition that would affect healing such as diabetes or an active skin disease.
  • You have realistic expectations.

The best time for scar revision surgery varies. It can take time for a wound to heal, and the scar continues to improve during the first year. Often we cannot accurately evaluate a scar until 12 months after your injury, as full maturation takes that long. We will recommend the best time for surgery based on your scar.

You will be given specific instructions to follow after your surgery. Following these instructions is critical to the success of your surgery.


Not all scars can be improved. The option we recommend for treating your scar will depend on many factors. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Topical treatments (over-the-counter or prescription)

These assist with healing and maturation of the scar and may improve the appearance and/or associated symptoms to some degree. Topical treatments may be used on current surface scars and discolorations or to assist with healing following a scar revision procedure. We may recommend the following:

  • Topical corticosteroids,anesthetic ointments, and antihistamine creams can reduce itching and tenderness.
  • Silicone gel sheeting or ointment may decrease swelling in hypertrophic scars.
  • Plant-derived creams, such as Mederma* (brand name), decrease the redness.

*Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.

Injection treatments

Injections can also be an effective treatment option. They include:

  • Steroid injections can reduce scars that are raised, thick, or red. Steroids are injected directly into the scar to break down collagen cells inside. Steroid injections may also ease the pain or itching that some scars cause.
  • Filler injections are used to fill depressed scars. Collagen or synthetic agents are injected into the area, producing immediate results. Filler injections are not permanent. Therefore it is necessary to repeat the injections every few years. This type of treatment may be considered cosmetic in nature and therefore available on a fee-for-service basis.

Surface treatments

Surface treatments can diminish surface irregularities and improve uneven coloring. These are often considered cosmetic treatments but may be covered in combination with procedures that are reconstructive. Whether we see you in the Department of Plastic Surgery or Cosmetic Services, we can help direct you for appropriate coverage and care.

Skin resurfacing removes the top layer of damaged skin allowing new skin to form. This can be done mechanically, chemically, or with a laser procedure. Options include:

  • Dermabrasion is a technique that resurfaces the skin by removing the outermost layers of dead cells. It promotes the growth of new healthy cells and enhances your skin's appearance by minimizing pores, fine lines, acne scars, age spots, and sun damage.  Dermabrasion has for the most part been replaced by laser resurfacing.
  • Chemical peel is the application of a chemical solution to remove the outer layers of skin, which can improve irregularities in texture and color. In some cases, chemical peels may even control acne and soften scars caused by acne. 
  • Laser skin resurfacing removes the top layer of damaged skin, allowing new smoother skin to form. This procedure can be very effective for small facial and acne scars.

Additional surface treatments include:

  • Vascular laser treatment decreases the discoloration of a red scar by reducing the blood vessels that supply blood to the area.
  • Skin bleaching uses topical medications to lighten the skin. The medication interferes with pigment production wherever it is applied.

Your Care with Me

If you have a scar that concerns you, your first contact will typically be with your personal physician, who will evaluate your health and symptoms.

If specialty care is needed, your personal physician will facilitate the process of scheduling an appointment in my department. If appropriate, she or he might call me or one of my colleagues while you are in the office so we can all discuss your care together.

During your office visit, we will discuss your medical and family history and I will examine your scar. We may take confidential photographs for your medical record. I will explain the findings of your exam and answer any questions or concerns you may have. We will discuss treatment options, including likely outcomes and risks or complications, and together we will create a treatment plan that is right for you.

If you need to talk with me after your visit or procedure, please call my office. You can also e-mail me with nonurgent issues from this website whenever it is convenient for you.

If you have urgent concerns or issues while my office is closed, or need general medical advice, you can call the Appointment and Advice line, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will be connected with a nurse who can give you immediate advice.

If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.

Coordinating Your Care

Having all of our Kaiser Permanente departments located together or nearby, including pharmacy, laboratory, radiology, and health education, makes getting your care easier for you.

Another major benefit is our comprehensive electronic medical record system, which allows all of the doctors and clinicians involved in your care to stay connected on your health status and collaborate with each other as appropriate.

When every member of the health care team is aware of all aspects of your condition, care is safer and more effective.

If you come to an office visit

At the beginning of your visit, you will receive information about when you are due for your next test, screening, or immunization. We can discuss and schedule any preventive tests that you need. 

  • At the end of your visit, you may receive a document called the "After Visit Summary" that will summarize the issues we discussed during your visit. You can refer to it if you forget what we discussed, or if you just want to recheck your vital signs and weight. You can also view it online under Past Visits.
  • To help you prepare for your visit, please see additional details under Office Visit. 
If I prescribe medications

We will work together to monitor and assess how your medications are working and make adjustments over time. Prescriptions can be filled at any Kaiser Permanente pharmacy. Just let me know which pharmacy works best for you, and I will send the prescription electronically in advance of your arrival at the pharmacy.

If refills are needed in the future, you can:

  • Order them online or by phone. Order future refills from my home page or by phone using the pharmacy refill number on your prescription label.
  • Have them delivered to you by mail at no extra cost. Or you can pick up your medications at the pharmacy. If no refills remain when you place your order, the pharmacy will contact me regarding your prescription.
If lab testing or imaging is needed

For lab tests, I will use our electronic medical record system to send the requisition to the Kaiser Permanente laboratory of your choice. For imaging procedures, we will schedule an appointment with the Radiology department. When the results are ready, I will contact you with your results by letter, secure e-mail message, or phone. In addition, you can view most of your laboratory results online, along with any comments that I have attached to explain them.

If I refer you to another specialty colleague

If we decide together that your condition would also benefit from the care of other types of specialists, our staff will help arrange the appointment(s) with one or more of my specialty colleagues.

If surgery or a procedure is a treatment option

I will recommend that you review educational information and tools to help you prepare for your procedure or surgery. The information will often help you decide whether surgery is right for you. If you decide to have a surgery or procedure, the information will provide details about how to prepare and what to expect.

If we proceed with surgery, I will have my Surgery Scheduler contact you to determine a surgery date and provide you with additional instructions regarding your procedure. Once your surgery is scheduled, a medical colleague of mine will contact you to conduct a preoperative medical evaluation that will assure that you are properly prepared for your surgery.

Convenient Resources for You

As your specialist, I have a goal to provide high-quality care and to offer you choices that make your health care convenient. I recommend that you become familiar with the many resources we offer so that you can choose the services that work best for you.

My Doctor Online is available at any time that is most convenient for you. From my home page you can:

Manage your care securely

• View and compose secure e-mail messages.
• Manage your prescriptions.
• View your past visits and test results.
• View your Preventive Services to see whether you are due for a routine screening or updated immunization.

Learn more about your condition

• Read about causes, symptoms, treatments, and procedures.
• Find interactive health tools, videos, and podcasts to help you manage your condition.
• View programs to help you decide on or prepare for a surgery or procedure.

Stay healthy

• Locate health education classes and support groups offered at every medical center.
• Explore interactive programs, videos, and podcasts that focus on helping you stay healthy.
• View your Preventive Services to see whether you are due for a routine screening or updated immunization.

Related Health Tools:

Interactive Programs
Prepare for Your Procedure

See more Health Tools »

If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.

This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.

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