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A Journal on Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2009 June;144(3):243-57

language: English

Do postsurgical interventions optimize ultimate scar cosmesis?

Viera M. H., Amini S., Konda S., Barman B.

University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery Miami, FL, USA


Keloids and other scars are different manifestations of the normal wound healing process. If located in visible areas, scars may have a psychological impact that could affect the quality of life of the scar-bearing population. Good preoperatory planning including hiding incisions in natural anatomical landmarks or placing them parallel to relaxed skin tension lines are among the techniques used to improve the cosmesis of scars. Once a prominent or noticeable scar has developed, multiple therapeutic modalities can be applied including surgical excision, although high recurrence rates precludes its use as monotherapy. Several advanced surgical correction techniques including Z-plasty and W-plasty may be useful in repositioning scars. Other modalities that have been reported to improve scar cosmesis include cryosurgery, radiotherapy, lasers, and skin substitute grafts. Adjuvant postsurgical treatment modalities have reduced dramatically the recurrence rates associated with the removal of the scar. In this review of the literature the authors discuss evidence based data related to the abovementioned modalities and other topical and intralesional therapies including occlusion, compression, silicone, corticosteroids, interferons, imiquimod, resiquimod, tacrolimus, 5-fluorouracil, retinoids, as well as the role of several over-the-counter agents such as onion extract, vitamin E and the combination of hydrocortisone, vitamin E and silicone. Finally, they address newer modalities including vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitor, transforming growth factor-‚3, interleukin-10, mannose-6-phosphate, UVA-1, narrowband UVB, intense pulsed light and photodynamic therapy. Ultimately, the decision of choosing the most appropriate postexcisional management treatment should be taken by physicians on a case-by-case basis in order to obtain the best cosmetically acceptable results.

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