Nonsurgical management of hypertrophic scars: evidence-based therapies, standard practices, and emerging methods

Aesthetic Plast Surg. Sep-Oct 2007;31(5):468-92; discussion 493-4. doi: 10.1007/s00266-006-0253-y. Epub 2007 Jun 18.


Hypertrophic scars, resulting from alterations in the normal processes of cutaneous wound healing, are characterized by proliferation of dermal tissue with excessive deposition of fibroblast-derived extracellular matrix proteins, especially collagen, over long periods, and by persistent inflammation and fibrosis. Hypertrophic scars are among the most common and frustrating problems after injury. As current aesthetic surgical techniques become more standardized and results more predictable, a fine scar may be the demarcating line between acceptable and unacceptable aesthetic results. However, hypertrophic scars remain notoriously difficult to eradicate because of the high recurrence rates and the incidence of side effects associated with available treatment methods. This review explores the various treatment methods for hypertrophic scarring described in the literature including evidence-based therapies, standard practices, and emerging methods, attempting to distinguish those with clearly proven efficiency from anecdotal reports about therapies of doubtful benefits while trying to differentiate between prophylactic measures and actual treatment methods. Unfortunately, the distinction between hypertrophic scar treatments and keloid treatments is not obvious in most reports, making it difficult to assess the efficacy of hypertrophic scar treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / drug therapy
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / radiotherapy
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cryotherapy / methods
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / methods
  • Massage / methods
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Silicone Gels / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Silicone Gels
  • Vitamin E