Saturday, March 17, 2012

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Hypertrophic scars


Pathology:
In some cases, the scarring process remains in the remodelling phase for longer than usual. These hypertrophic scars are more cellular and more vascular than mature scars.  There is increased collagen production and collagen breakdown but the balance is such that excess collagen is produced. 

Clinical features:
The hypertrophic scars are red, raised, itchy and tender. They will eventually mature to become pale and flat, and it is this spontaneous resolution which distinguishes hypertrophic scars from keloid scars. 

Cause:
Hypertrophic scars typically occur in wounds where healing was delayed, e.g. in cases where infection or dehiscence has occurred. 

Incidence:
They are more common in children and where skin tension is high such as the tip of the shoulder or any scar that runs across relaxed skin tension lines.

Prevention and treatment:
The risk of developing a hypertrophic scar can be minimised by ensuring quiet primary healing. Where hypertrophy does occur patience is usually rewarded by improvement with time. Massage of the scar with moisturising cream or the application of pressure to the remodelling scar can accelerate the natural process of maturation. Patients with hypertrophic bum scars are supplied with custom made Lycra pressure garments that promote acceleration of scar maturation. Revision of hypertrophic scars is appropriate where they cross skin tension lines or where a specific wound healing complication occurred. In the absence of these factors scar revision should be avoided as it will usually be met with recurrence.

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