New incision dressing reduces scars

It’s always great to see people you know coming up with innovative ideas and making them work successfully. This time, a friend from my time at MGH in Boston, plastic surgeon Geoff Gurtner, MD, has come up with a neat scar-reducing dressing that looks quite promising in early trials.

Here’s the concept: we know that scars get worse if there is a lot of tension across the incision. Even small amounts of tension, like those from day-to-day motion, make a difference, which is why scars on the knee often look so bad. What if we were able to shield the incision from those forces?

The polymer dressing, manufactured by Neodyne Biosciences, is stretched over the incision after sutures are removed. It adheres to skin, and reduces the tension across the wound. It turns out that this simple idea makes a big difference to how scars turn out.

In a small study of tummy tuck patients, the Neodyne dressing was applied to one half of the incision, while the other side received standard post-op care. Surgeons then rated photographs of the scars, 6-12 months post-op, noting a highly statistically significant difference. Lay examiners who saw the photos agreed with the experts.

The product is still in Phase I trials, so it will be quite a while before it is commercially available. I like the idea because it seems to work, fits in with our usual surgical routine, and is convenient for patients – with an obvious outcome improvement.

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