Palo Alto, Calif. — Stanford University researchers say they have developed a wound dressing that can significantly reduce scar tissue caused by incisions, Medical News Today reports.
The novel dressing is made of thin, elastic silicone plastic that is stretched over and adhered to the incision after sutures have been removed, according to an article published in the online Annals of Surgery that details results of animal tests and an early clinical trial. As the dressing contracts, it provides uniform compression across the wound.
In tests in pigs, which have skin similar to that of humans, the area of scars caused by roughly 1-inch incisions was reduced sixfold by the stress-shielding device as compared to scars in pigs in a control group. According to the study, the stress-shielded wounds “demonstrated nearly scarless closure” eight weeks after suture removal.
Researchers also tested the device on nine female patients who had undergone abdominoplasties, which typically involve high levels of tension across the wound after closure. In this phase of the study, only one side of each patient’s incision was treated with the stress-shielding dressing. Following the procedures, three plastic surgeons unaffiliated with the research, as well as three people not in the medical profession, acted as judges.
On a 100-point scale, the lay panel scored the appearance of stress-shielded wounds an average of 13.2 points higher than the appearance of control wounds. The expert panel scored the appearance of the treated incisions 39.2 points higher. In both of these analyses, the differences between the treated and the control sides were highly significant, the researchers wrote.
“Larger clinical trials are being planned to include greater ethnic diversity within the patient population and to determine the optimal range of stress-shielding forces for anatomic region- and dimension-specific wounds,” the authors wrote.