Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for the management of burn scars

Dermatol Surg. 2012 May;38(5):778-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2012.02355.x. Epub 2012 Feb 15.


Background: Hypertrophic and contracture scars are common problems after burn injuries and cause functional and cosmetic deformities. A wide variety of treatments has been advocated for postburn pathologic scars regression. Unfortunately, the reported efficacy has been variable.

Objectives: To investigate the use of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), which mainly targets the fibroblasts in scar tissue, as an effective modality for scar treatment in burn patients.

Materials and methods: An experimental study with ESWT was performed in 16 patients with postburn scars contractures, hypertrophic scars, or keloids twice a week for 6 weeks. Digital photographs were obtained and visual analogue scales were completed before and after treatment.

Results: Already after the first session, scars appeared more pliable, and color mismatch was less evident. At the end of the study period, all treated scars obtained a more acceptable appearance.

Conclusions: Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is a feasible and cost-effective treatment in the management of postburn pathologic scars.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Burns / complications*
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / therapy*
  • Contracture / etiology
  • Contracture / therapy
  • Female
  • High-Energy Shock Waves / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome