Scar Therapy That Works
A few years ago, I was a primary researcher for a new device designed to improve the appearance of scars after surgery. The clinical trial, “A Study of a Novel Silicone Dressing to Minimize Scar Formation (REFINE),” was sponsored by the manufacturer Neodyne Biosciences. This month, the research is published in the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The results demonstrate that the Embrace device significantly reduces scarring following Abdominoplasty surgery. To the authors’ knowledge, this represents the first level I evidence for postoperative scar reduction.
How the Scar Reduction Research was Performed
Silicone Impregnated Gel Sheeting has been used for years to improve the appearance of scars. The Embrace device is novel because it also incorporates stress-shielding to protect the operative site. For the trial, patients having Tummy Tucks were prospectively randomized to have one side treated with Embrace and the other side treated in the usual manner of the plastic surgeon. All researchers were experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeons. All patients were treated with the Embrace patch for 5 to 13 weeks and followed for a year after Abdominoplasty. Very specific and reproducible photographs were taken at 6 and 12 months after the Tummy Tuck for comparison.
How Much Better Were the Tummy Tuck Scars?
The operative scars were rated by investigators and patients. Both found that embrace-treated scars demonstrated significant improvements in overall appearance at 12 months using the Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale evaluation (p = 0.02 and p < 0.001, respectively). Importantly, no serious adverse events were reported.
Highlights of the REFINE trial data include:
- Highly significant statistical difference between treated and control (p value < 0.02)
- Met Primary and secondary endpoints vs. standard of care (Steri-Strips, Mederma, silicone gel, silicone sheeting)
- High level of patient and physician satisfaction
- High likelihood to recommend therapy by both physician and patient
Limits of Embrace Scar Therapy
I most commonly use Embrace Scar Therapy for Tummy Tucks and (Arm Lifts) Brachioplasty. In my practice, and in the trials, the most common reason for stopping Embrace was skin irritation. Since the device is occlusive and is pushing the skin edges together, the mild glue or traction alone can cause redness around the edges of the patch in some patients. The device will only work on straight incisions that are on a relatively flat surface. Embrace can also be used for scar revision, provided the scar is straight and on a flat surface.
Considering a Tummy Tuck or Arm Lift?
If you are considering a Mommy Makeover, Tummy Tuck or Arm Lift, be certain to ask about Embrace Scar Therapy for your recovery. Many patients find the dressing comfortable and reassuring, because it supports the surgical repair. Many San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgeons are offering Embrace, and we should since it was invented and proven effective by Plastic Surgeons from around the SF Bay.
More information on Cosmetic Plastic Surgery is available here on the San Francisco Plastic Surgery Blog, but there is no substitute for an in-person consultation. When you are ready to learn specifics about what a Mommy Makeover, Tummy Tuck or Arm Lift can do for you, give me a call at (925) 943-6353, or use the contact form in the margin to obtain more information.