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In scar wars, a new hope

Scars are an inevitable consequence of surgery, but many people consider them unsightly. In some cases, scars are seriously disfiguring. Now, a group of Stanford researchers has developed a novel wound dressing that significantly reduces scarring caused by incisions, according to a study published recently in the Annals of Surgery.

I report on the study's findings, and describe how the dressing works, today in Inside Stanford Medicine:

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. . . .It is made of a thin and elastic silicone plastic that is stretched over the incision. . . .The dressing sticks to the skin with the help of an adhesive. As it contracts, it provides uniform compression across the wound.

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