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Treating difficult scars with fat grafts

People with difficult-to-treat scars may have a new option for helping to soften and smooth their scars with fat grafts.

Severe scarring can cause problems with mobility, pain, discomfort and problems performing day-to-day tasks due to a lack of flexibility. This can be compounded by the look of a scar, which can make patients feel self-conscious.

Scar tissue is extremely fibrous and tough, and comes with its own set of problems, so having new ways to make scarring more flexible are important parts of treatment.

A new treatment has been trialled using fat cells injected into hard, contracted scars that may be the result of burns or other trauma to the skin. An article published in The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery shows promising results in hundreds of patients. The research has been carried out in Italy by doctors using fat grafts where other scar treatments have been unsuccessful or ineffective.

The doctors have been using fat grafts for six years, with over 700 patients receiving the fat grafts in hardened, abnormal, tight and painful scarring, including facial scarring. Liposuction techniques collect fat from the patient, typically from the abdomen or hips. The fat cells are then injected under the skin in multiple directions in the areas of scarring, with the intention to create a support web of flexible fat for the scar tissue.

Results have been positive, with significant improvements in both the look and feel of the scars. The scarred area becomes softer and more flexible, and the colour blended in more with surrounding healthy skin tissue. Patients reported less pain and increased scar elasticity, with improvements beginning just two weeks after the injections, and persisting through to the three-month mark, and beyond.

Benefits of fat grafts into scar tissue

  • Increased motion, including for facial expressions
  • Colour and appearance improvements
  • Softer scarring
  • More flexible scar tissue
  • Less pain
  • Less tightness and stiffness

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2019-11-25T03:52:30+00:00