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Can Silicone Gel Alter the Appearance of Surgical Scars

Learn more about the efficacy of silicone gel in the treatment of different types of scars.

Altering one’s appearance or addressing functional issues through surgery always leaves a mark. Unfortunately, scar formation on the incision site is an inevitable consequence of the wound-healing process. Depending on the type of surgery, large or highly visible scars can develop. Over time, the scars on the surgical incision may change shape or become sunken.

Although most scars will become less prominent after several months, they will never completely disappear. However, there are non-surgical cosmetic solutions such as silicone gel that can help reduce the appearance of your surgical scars. For more Non-Surgical Scar Treatments, click here.

What is Silicone Gel?

Silicone gel is an ultra-thin silicone gel that is applied to scars. It’s an over-the-counter treatment for different types of scars. However, you’ll need to wear it 24 hours a day to achieve your desired aesthetic goals.

Furthermore, Coco Ruby patient care advisors recommend patients use Strataderm to treat scars post-surgically. For your convenience, you can purchase Strataderm in our clinic.

How Does it Work?

An overwhelming body of clinical evidence suggests that silicone gel can change the appearance of surgical scars through the following mechanisms:

  • Firstly, it improves wound hydration and occlusion.
    • Silicone gel helps prevent the stratum corneum, the outermost skin layer, from getting dehydrated. [1]
    • It retains water levels in the skin, thus providing adequate hydration to the newly formed, underdeveloped stratum corneum.
    • Silicone gel also creates a level of occlusion that is very similar to normal skin, which in turn reduces the activity of inflammatory cytokines and fibroblasts (cells involved in wound healing and scar formation). [2]
  • Secondly, it reduces wound tension.
    • Silicone gel transfers tension from the wound edges to the silicone, which provides an ideal environment for normal scar formation because this mechanism reduces the risk of additional damage to the scar area. [3]
  • Thirdly, it decreases blood flow to the scar site.
    • Silicone gel has been found to inhibit hyperemia, the body’s natural reaction to skin injury, which is characterised by increased blood flow to the site of damaged tissues.
    • This, in turn, reduces blood supply to the scar site, resulting in decreased scar formation. [4]
  • And, finally, it aids in the alignment of structural proteins.
    • Proper alignment of structural proteins during the wound healing phase is known to prevent the formation of raised scars. By creating friction between the sheet and the skin, silicone gel generates a negatively charged static electric field that aids in the proper alignment of structural proteins. [5]

What Types of Scars can benefit from the Application of Silicone Gel?

Specific scars on any part of the body can benefit from a silicone gel application. These include the following;

  1. Hypertrophic scars: These scars are both, thick and wide, and are usually also raised or elevated.
    2. Keloid scars: These are large, elevated scars that can be skin-coloured, pinkish, reddish, or darker than the surrounding skin.

Is Silicone Gel a Good Option for Scar Reduction?

Silicone gel is an FDA-approved treatment for different types of scars. Clinical trials report that this non-surgical scar reduction treatment is effective in changing the appearance of hypertrophic and keloid scars if worn over the affected skin area for 12-24 hours daily for at least 2-3 months. [6] These products have a low risk of adverse events compared to more invasive scar reduction treatments like surgical excision, radiation, cryotherapy, laser treatment, and corticosteroid injection.

How Effective are Silicone Gels in Changing the Appearance of Scars?

The efficacy of silicone gel in scar reduction is backed by recent studies. For instance, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that the application of silicone gel in patients with hypertrophic and keloid scars for 1-16 months significantly changed the colour, thickness, and elasticity of scars. [7]

A 2016 study published in Advances in Skin and Wound Care also reported that silicone gel application in patients with postoperative scars resulted in significant changes in pigmentation, pliability, vascularity, length, and height of the scars compared with untreated patients. [8]

While most studies on the safety and efficacy of silicone gel reported significant changes in the appearance and structure of hypertrophic and keloid scars, it is important to keep in mind that the results of this non-surgical treatment will greatly depend on the extent and severity of your scar and your body’s healing ability.

What are the Advantages of Silicone Gel?

Like most things, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this product. Below is a list of some of these.

Advantages include;

  • Painless
  • Non-surgical
  • Lower risk of adverse effects
  • it comes in many different sizes
  • It also blends with the natural colour of the skin
  • And, it’s readily available.

While the disadvantages are as follows;

Like any other non-invasive treatment, it also has disadvantages, including;

  • Needs to be reapplied every 12 hours and also after showering
  • Depending on size of the scar, it can be expensive
  • There is also potential for hypersensitivity reaction
  • Visible results can be observed after 2-3 months of continuous application.

Undergoing a non-surgical scar reduction treatment such as silicone gel application is an extremely personal decision. If you want to know more about the types of silicone gel that can work best for your surgical scars as well as aesthetic goals, send in an enquiry form below or call us.

References:

  1. Suetak T, Sasai S, Zhen YX, Tagami H. Effects of silicone gel sheet on the stratum corneum hydration. Br J Plast Surg. 2000;53(6):503-507. doi:10.1054/bjps.2000.3388.
  2. Kelemen O, Hegedűs G, Kollár L, Menyhei G, Seress L. Morphological analysis of the connective tissue reaction in linear hypertrophic scars treated with intralesional steroid or silicone-gel sheeting. A light and electron microscopic study. Acta Biol Hung 2008;59:129–145.
  3. Akaishi S, Akimoto M, Hyakusoku H, Ogawa R. 142B: the relationship between keloid growth pattern and stretching tension-visual analysis using the finite element method. Plast Reconstr Surg 2010;125:96.
  4. Rabello FB, Souza CD, Farina Júnior JA. Update on hypertrophic scar treatment. Clinics 2014;69:565–573.
  5. Borgognoni L. Biological effects of silicone gel sheeting. Wound Repair Regen 2002;10:118–121.
  6. Berman B, Perez OA, Konda S, et al. A review of the biologic effects, clinical efficacy, and safety of silicone elastomer sheeting for hypertrophic and keloid scar treatment and management. Dermatol Surg. 2007;33(11):1291-1303. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4725.2007.33280.
  7. Westra I, Pham H, Niessen FB. Topical Silicone Sheet Application in the Treatment of Hypertrophic Scars and Keloids. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016;9(10):28-35.
  8. Kim JS, Hong JP, Choi JW, Seo DK, Lee ES, Lee HS. The Efficacy of a Silicone Sheet in Postoperative Scar Management. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2016;29(9):414-420. doi:10.1097/01.ASW.0000488665.03896.3d.

Specialist Plastic Surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeons are dedicated to best-practice patient care and education, customising Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Broughton Snell
Dr Stephen Kleid
Dr Gary Kode

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001124843

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With over 20 years of surgical experience especially in all areas of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, but particularly in breast surgery. These include Breast Augmentation and Breast Reduction as well as Breast Surgery Revision.

Furthermore, he believes that surgical customisation, precision planning and technical expertise help him to provide optimal surgical outcomes for his patients.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001190266

Dr Broughton Snell

Dr Broughton Snell is a Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His training in Plastic Surgery took place in Australia and the United States of America (USA).

Dr Snell is a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon having completed his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon MED0001052799

Dr Stephen Kleid

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty, as well as, a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid trained at Melbourne University, then completed surgical training at various hospitals including Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s, The Eye and Ear and St Vincents. He worked as a surgeon at the University of Florida Medical school for further experience.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964

Dr Gary Kode

Dr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.

Dr Kode is a member of several organisations, including the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), The International Confederation for Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and he holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday - Friday.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.

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