Scarring is one of the downsides of many plastic surgery procedures. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) noted that scars are inevitable when it comes to going under the knife; furthermore, it can be hard to predict what a scar will look like prior to surgery. The ASPS said, “Poor healing may contribute to scars that are obvious, unsightly or disfiguring. Even a wound that heals well can result in a scar that affects your appearance.” (ASPS 1)
Now, a study just published by Stanford University researchers could be very welcome news for surgeons and patients alike. Dr. Geoffrey Gurtner and his team have created a special bandage that immobilizes the skin around a surgical wound as it heals, minimizing the pulling and tugging that happens during normal daily activities. The bandage is constructed of silicone and Teflon sheets. Dubbing it a skin “cast,” an article on the NewScientist website explaied, “The bandage holds the skin taut at the edges of the wound, absorbing the everyday stresses that would normally tug and twist the healing wound.” (Jabr 1)
The Stanford team tested the new bandage first on a species of pigs whose skin is much like that of humans. Measured against control groups, Gurtner and his colleagues noticed that the scar area was 6- to 9-fold smaller on the animals with the new bandage, and the formation of fibrous tissue was decreased. (Gurtner 1)
Next, the team tested nine human volunteers who underwent abdominoplasty. These patients agreed to have half their surgical wound dressed with traditional bandages, and half with Gurtner’s new immobilizing bandage. Scars were examined 8 and 12 months post-op by plastic surgeons and lay people. Both groups agreed that the silicone/Teflon bandage improved scar appearance. (Jabr 1)
More research needs to be performed on this new approach, and it’s certain to happen. Scars have long been the bugaboo of plastic surgery, perhaps even holding some patients back from taking the plunge. It’s common to read about people weighing both sides of the argument before making a decision. Google “trade skin for scars” and you’ll see.