WOUND DRESS THAT REDUCES MECHANICAL STRESS
The natural tension of the skin around the incision starts to separate two edges of the wound after the sutures are removed from the incision site. Although the incision site will generally heal, the formation of excessive scar tissue as a result of the mechanical stretching of the wound is observed. A new type of wound dressing, which relieves this mechanical stress may reduce the permanent scar tissue significantly, was developed by researchers from Stanford University.
This stress-shielding dressing is made of a thin, elastic silicone plate and applied to the wounds after sutures are removed. It adheres to the skin with an adhesive and ensures that the two sides do not separate from each other by continuing to contract evenly throughout the incision.
In laboratory tests, a 2.5 cm incision was opened to two pig groups and one group treated with the dressing while the other group treated without the dressing. It was observed that the amount of wound was decreased 6 times in the subjects that treated with the dressing. Pigs have been used in experiments because they have similar skin to human skin.
Stanford scientists also tried to use the device to treat 2.5 x 3.8 cm excisions in pigs, which could be taken in the scar removal procedure. The results were parallel with the other test and revealed that the device is not only might be useful to avoid scars but also to recover from existing ones.
In the end, nine women, who had undergone abdominoplasty operation, were tested. One group was treated with the using device while the other group was treated without using the device. A panel of three plastic surgeons and three non-medical background observers saw the scars, concluded that patients treated with the device were better than patients not treated with the device.
Further and expanded clinical trials are planned in the future to include broader ethnic variety subjects, and to find the optimum amount of tension required for different wound sizes and wounds in different regions.