New Innovations in Scar Management
- Cite this article as:
- Widgerow, A., Chait, L., Stals, R. et al. Aesth. Plast. Surg. (2000) 24: 227. doi:10.1007/s002660010038
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As current aesthetic surgical techniques become more standardized and results more predictable, a fine scar may be the demarcating line between acceptable and unacceptable aesthetic results. With this in mind, a scar management program has been adopted based on the modalities of wound support, hydration, and hastened maturity, all factors gleaned from scientific evidence published over the past 25 years. Tension on a scar in one axis will result in a stretched scar, probably initiated by neutrophils and their neutral proteases [18,26]. Tension on a scar from many directions or intermittently will result in a hypertrophic scar, possibly initiated by lymphocytes but definitely related to a prolongation of the inflammatory process, with increased fibroblast activity and overabundant extracellular matrix secretion [24,26]. The common initiating factor is the tension on the scar, and the critical element needed to counteract this tension is scar support. Clinical experience has shown us that the most reliable way to support a scar is by using microporous tape. Hydration is a second beneficial influence on scar control and is the basis of the use of silicone sheeting and gel [7,29,36]. Alpha Centella cream has two main components. The first is an extract from the plant Bulbine frutescens. This increases hydration under the tape by leaving a layer of fatty vesicles of glycoprotein on the skin surface. This also has antibacterial properties. The second component is the principal terpenoids extracted from the Centella asiatica plant. These include asiatic acid, madecassic acid, and asiaticoside. Centella asiatica has been documented to aid wound healing in a large number of scientific reports [5,12,21,22,33,34,40]. The most beneficial effect appears to be the stimulation of maturation of the scar by the production of type I collagen [4,19] and the resulting decrease in the inflammatory reaction and myofibroblast production. Thus these components have been incorporated into the formulation of a scar management program. This publication reviews much of the available literature relating to scar management and describes the formulation and use of a scar management program based on this information.