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Nonsurgical Scar Management of the Face: Does Early Versus Late Intervention Affect Outcome?

Parry, Ingrid MS, PT; Sen, Soman MD, FACS; Palmieri, Tina MD, FACS; Greenhalgh, David MD, FACS

doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e318278906d
Original Articles

Special emphasis is placed on the clinical management of facial scarring because of the profound physical and psychological impact of facial burns. Noninvasive methods of facial scar management include pressure therapy, silicone, massage, and facial exercises. Early implementation of these scar management techniques after a burn injury is typically accepted as standard burn rehabilitation practice, however, little data exist to support this practice. This study evaluated the timing of common noninvasive scar management interventions after facial skin grafting in children and the impact on outcome, as measured by scar assessment and need for facial reconstructive surgery. A retrospective review of 138 patients who underwent excision and grafting of the face and subsequent noninvasive scar management during a 10-year time frame was conducted. Regression analyses were used to show that earlier application of silicone was significantly related to lower Modified Vancouver Scar Scale scores, specifically in the subscales of vascularity and pigmentation. Early use of pressure therapy and implementation of facial exercises were also related to lower Modified Vancouver Scar Scale vascularity scores. No relationship was found between timing of the interventions and facial reconstructive outcome. Early use of silicone, pressure therapy, and exercise may improve scar outcome and accelerate time to scar maturity.

From Shriners Hospital for Children—Northern California, Sacramento.

Address correspondence to Parry I, Shriners Hospital for Children—Northern California, 2425 Stockton Boulevard, Sacramento, California.

© 2013 The American Burn Association