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Do silicone gel sheets speed healing of normal surgical scars in Asians?

Writing in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, Drs. Rhee, Koh, Lee, Park, and Kim of Seoul, South Korea, describe faster healing of routine surgical scars made on normal skin. While application of silicone gel sheeting is known to aid in the maturation of abnormally aggressive hypertrophic and keloid scars, the authors conclude that it can also speed healing in perfectly normal scars after routine skin incisions.

Two groups of patients were compared: those who used no special scar management agent and those who applied a silicone gel sheet for 12 hours a day for three months. Scars were periodically graded in terms of pigmentation, redness from vascularity, and height or elevation.

While early healing was unaffected, there were statistically significant improved scores at three months for all three criteria in the group using silicone gel sheeting.

APSG Comment: While seemingly good news for Asian plastic surgery patients in whom conspicuous scarring is often of major concern, such a short-term study should not be misinterpreted.

Skin incisions take closer to three years than three months to mature to a final state.

Experience has shown that common commercial scar prevention products contribute little or nothing to the final scar outcome except in those few patients prone to truly abnormal scarring, known as hypertrophic scarring or keloid formation. Still, scar-preventing sheets and gels are widely marketed by the pharmaceutical industry and so used unnecessarily by many patients who feel they are helping along the healing process.

Studies such as this one are often used to support retailer claims of better final appearance and justify the added expense and effort. Unfortunately, the data to support such a conclusion just isn't here.

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Silicone sheeting and scar prevention