Effect of Mederma on hypertrophic scarring in the rabbit ear model

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2002 Jul;110(1):177-83; discussion 184-6. doi: 10.1097/00006534-200207000-00029.


Currently accepted conservative treatments of hypertrophic scars are limited to steroid injections, radiation therapy, and silicone occlusive therapy. However, the use of Mederma for these problematic lesions has become quite prevalent in the clinical setting. Little scientific evidence exists to support the efficacy of this product in reducing hypertrophic scars. The aim of this study was to study the effects of Mederma on hypertrophic scars in the rabbit hypertrophic scar model, allowing the histologic quantification of scar elevation, dermal collagen organization, vascularity, and inflammation and the gross examination of scar erythema. Full-thickness wounds down to cartilage, four per ear, were created in four New Zealand White rabbits, for a total of 32 scars. Twenty-eight days after the initial wounding, the hypertrophic scars were photographed, and treatment of half of the scars on each ear was begun with Mederma three times per day for a total of 4 weeks. The untreated scars served as control scars and were left exposed to air. After 4 weeks of treatment, the scars were once again photographed. The rabbits were then killed, and the scars were analyzed histologically. The pretreatment and posttreatment photographs were compared by using computer quantification of magenta, yellow, and cyan expression within the scars. Histologic analysis demonstrated no significant reduction in scar hypertrophy or scar elevation index. However, a significant improvement in dermal collagen organization was noted on comparing Mederma-treated scars with untreated control scars (p < 0.05). No significant difference in dermal vascularity or inflammation was noted. Computer analysis of the scar photographs demonstrated no significant reduction in scar erythema with Mederma treatment. The active product in Mederma, allium cepa, has as its derivative quercetin, a bioflavonoid noted for its antiproliferative effects on both normal and malignant cells, and its antihistamine release effects. These properties could theoretically prove beneficial in reversing the inflammatory and proliferative responses noted in hypertrophic scars. Despite the authors' inability to demonstrate a reduction in scar hypertrophy, the improvement in collagen organization noted in the Mederma-treated scars suggests it may have an effect on the pathophysiology of hypertrophic scar formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / pathology*
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Ear, External / pathology
  • Female
  • Onions*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rabbits
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / pathology
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • Plant Extracts
  • Collagen