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New Stanford device could reduce surgical scarring
Date:5/23/2011

STANFORD, Calif. Researchers at Stanford University have developed a special wound dressing that they report was able to significantly reduce scar tissue caused by incisions.

Results of animal tests and of an early clinical trial of the dressing were "stunning," said Michael Longaker, MD, MBA, the Deane P. and Louise Mitchell Professor at the School of Medicine and senior author of a study that details the findings. "It was a surprisingly effective treatment."

The study will be published online May 23 in the Annals of Surgery.

After sutures are removed, the edges of a healing incision are pulled in different directions by the taut, surrounding skin, causing scar tissue to thicken and spread. The novel dressing, which the authors refer to as a "stress-shielding device," eliminates this tension and hence a considerable amount of scarring.

"This work actually started 20 years ago when I was an intern at Massachusetts General Hospital," said lead author Geoffrey Gurtner, MD, professor and associate chair of surgery. "I realized early on that we were not going to solve the problem of scarring with current surgical tools and techniques."

Co-author Reinhold Dauskardt, PhD, professor of materials science and engineering in the School of Engineering, recalled a meeting he had with Gurtner that launched the effort to create a stress-shielding device. "We were talking about our respective research," Dauskardt said. "Geoff had a lot of experience in wound healing and was thinking about factors that led to scarring. He said, 'If only we could keep in check the mechanical forces acting on the wound.' I had multiple programs on skin biomechanics and transdermal-drug delivery. I said, 'I think I can do that.'"

Dauskardt and his colleagues created the dressing in his lab. It is made of a thin and elastic silicone plastic that is stretched over the incision after sutures have been removed. The dressing sticks to the sk
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Contact: John Sanford
jsanford@stanfordmed.org
650-723-8309
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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