Mechanical receptor-related mechanisms in scar management: a review and hypothesis

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Aug;126(2):426-434. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181df715d.


Background: The physiopathogenesis of proliferative scarring in human skin is not well understood. Furthermore, knowledge of the precise mechanisms of action for physical treatment modalities is limited. Compression garments, occlusive/adhesive skin taping, and silicone gel sheets are applied to form an occlusion on the scar surface, reduce tension, and/or increase pressure on the scar itself. The mechanisms by which the external or superficial actions of these treatments cause remission of a protruding scar may be related to mechanoreceptor (nociceptor and cellular mechanoreceptor) responses.

Methods: Basic research studies about mechanoreceptor-related (nociceptors and cellular mechanoreceptors, separately) events are reviewed and discussed based on proliferative scarring background. Scar management-related studies were corrected from the standpoint of mechanotransduction mechanisms. The methodologic quality of the clinical trials and basic studies was evaluated and reviewed.

Results: It was suggested that many of the physical scar management methods, including compression therapy, silicone therapy, adhesive tape, and occlusive dressing therapy, are related to mechanotransduction mechanisms.

Conclusions: A unifying perspective of basic research findings and clinical observations may be obtained by considering the mechanoreceptor-related events in scar management. Moreover, a precise understanding of the roles that cellular mechanoreceptors and mechanosensitive nociceptors play in proliferative scarring may lead to the development of innovative treatment strategies and new pharmacologic therapies targeting cellular mechanoreceptors and mechanosensitive nociceptors in fibroproliferative diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / physiopathology
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / prevention & control
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / therapy*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • Keloid / physiopathology
  • Keloid / prevention & control
  • Keloid / therapy*
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Nociceptors / physiology
  • Occlusive Dressings*
  • Prognosis
  • Rats
  • Risk Assessment
  • Silicone Gels / therapeutic use*
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Silicone Gels