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

in with the help of an adhesive. As it contracts, it provides uniform compression across the wound.

Scar tissue, which is less flexible than regular skin, can cause functional problems, such as limiting motion. Hair does not grow in a scar, and it doesn't have sweat glands. In addition, scars do not look like regular skin: They are often raised and have a pinkish hue. Many people consider them unattractive. Yet they are an unavoidable side effect of surgery. Every year in the United States, more than 50 million incisions are created during operations. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of people already have scars that they would prefer to eliminate. Current scar-removal techniques, including surgical excision, steroid injections and laser therapy, are generally expensive, painful or simply not very effective, the authors say.

The researchers predicted the dressing will be used not only to reduce scarring from incisions, but also to make the surgical revision of existing scars a more appealing option; the second scar would be much less visible, if visible at all.

In pigs, which have skin similar to that of humans, the area of scars caused by roughly 1-inch incisions was reduced six-fold by the stress-shielding device, compared to pigs in a control group with the same-sized incisions, the study said. The stress-shielded wounds "demonstrated nearly scarless closure" eight weeks after sutures had been removed.

The researchers also tested the device on roughly 1-by-1.5-inch excisions a wound mimicking the kind caused by scar removal and found that "stress shielding dramatically decreased scar area" compared to unshielded wounds of the same size. "The device seemed to promote regenerative-like repair rather than scar formation," the authors wrote.

Next, the researchers tested the device on nine female patients who had undergone abdominoplasties (tummy tucks). Given the quantity of tissue removed during this elective surgery, a
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Contact: John Sanford
jsanford@stanfordmed.org
650-723-8309
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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