Vascularization pattern in hypertrophic scars and keloids: a stereological analysis

Pathol Res Pract. 2003;199(7):469-73. doi: 10.1078/0344-0338-00447.


Wound healing is a complex process that does not always occur harmoniously and may lead to pathological scar development, such as hypertrophic scars and keloids. Considering that vascularization can play a role in the development of these scars, and that the literature is controversial, we performed a stereological analysis of dermal for vessels of normal skin, normal scars, hypertrophic scars, and keloids. The parameters studied concerned vessels: surface density, length density; for vessels and myofibroblasts: volume density, in papillary and reticular dermis. The pattern of dermal vascularization in normal skin and normal scar showed no differences. In papillary demis, the number of vessels was higher in hypertrophic scars and keloids than in normal skin (p < 0.05). Vessels of hypertrophic scars were more dilated than those of normal skin (p < 0.01). In reticular dermis, vessels were present in higher amount in hypertrophic scars and keloids than in normal skin (p < 0.025; p < 0.001, respectively). The pattern of vascularization did not show any differences between hypertrophic scars and keloids. Our results show that hypertrophic scars and keloids have a distinct pattern of vascularization compared to normal skin and normal scars. This indicates that abnormal vascularization can be involved in the development of hypertrophic scars and keloids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD34 / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / metabolism
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / pathology*
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Humans
  • Keloid / metabolism
  • Keloid / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic*
  • Skin / blood supply*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology


  • Actins
  • Antigens, CD34
  • Biomarkers