New bandage could reduce scarring
Scarring is a normal part of just about any major surgery, whether it’s a cosmetic procedure or not. Surgeons work very hard to reduce the visibility of scars, but they haven’t ever had a method at their fingertips that can help to guarantee the optimal healing of surgical incisions — until now.
Geoffrey Gurtner, a Stanford University plastic surgeon, has been working with his colleagues to develop a new type of bandage for minimizing the appearance of scars. The bandage helps to alleviate stress from the incision area, which ensures that the skin heals without the stretching and separating that causes large, raised scars.
“Even doing the best I can,” says Gurnter, “patients still end up with scars, and it’s somewhat unpredictable. Some people have very bad scars, and some people have better scars. So there hasn’t been a simple way to really get the scar as good as it possibly can be.”
Gurtner’s bandage adheres to the skin in lines that run parallel to the incision. The strong bond that’s made on either side of the wound helps to transfer mechanical stress that results from bending and stretching across the incision area to the skin on the other side. The reduction in stress applied directly to the incision keeps it closed and well formed during the healing process.
“If you’re moving around or doing jumping jacks, actually all the mechanical forces go to the skin, and then they go over the incision through this elastomer and go back on to the other side,” says Gurtner. “So that the area underneath the bandage doesn’t feel any mechanical forces.”
As a plastic surgeon, Geoffrey Gurtner’s primary interest in the bandage is to help reduce the scars created during cosmetic procedures. But scars left by face lifts, tummy tucks and other popular procedures aren’t all that the bandage can help with. According to Gurtner, the bandage could help to reduce scars left by caesarian sections, knee surgery, open heart surgery and more.
Tests have been performed on both laboratory animals and a few human subjects. The results so far are promising.
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