Scar prevention and remodeling: a review of the medical, surgical, topical and light treatment approaches

Int J Dermatol. 2014 Aug;53(8):922-36. doi: 10.1111/ijd.12436. Epub 2014 Apr 2.


Cosmetic, functional, and structural sequelae of scarring are innumerable, and measures exist to optimize and ultimately minimize these sequelae. To evaluate the innumerable methods available to decrease the cosmetic, functional, and structural repercussions of scarring, pubMed search of the English literature with key words scar, scar revision, scar prevention, scar treatment, scar remodeling, cicatrix, cicatrix treatment, and cicatrix remodeling was done. Original articles and reviews were examined and included. Seventy-nine manuscripts were reviewed. Techniques, comparisons, and results were reviewed and tabulated. Overall, though topical modalities are easier to use and are usually more attractive to the patient, the surgical approaches still prove to be superior and more reliable. However, advances in topical medications for scar modification are on the rise and a change towards medical treatment of scars may emerge as the next best approach. Comparison studies of the innumerable specific modalities for scar revision and prevention are impossible. Standardization of techniques is lacking. Scarring, the body's natural response to a wound, can create many adverse effects. At this point, the practice of sound, surgical fundamentals still trump the most advanced preventative methods and revision techniques. Advances in medical approaches are available, however, to assist the scarring process, which even the most advanced surgical fundamentals will ultimately lead to. Whether through newer topical therapies, light treatment, or classical surgical intervention, our treatment armamentarium of scars has expanded and will allow us to maximize scar prevention and to minimize scar morbidity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Allantoin / administration & dosage
  • Antimitotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / therapeutic use
  • Cicatrix / physiopathology
  • Cicatrix / prevention & control
  • Cicatrix / therapy*
  • Dermabrasion
  • Dermatologic Surgical Procedures* / methods
  • Drug Combinations
  • Heparin / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Silicone Gels / administration & dosage
  • Sitosterols / administration & dosage
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta3 / therapeutic use


  • Antimitotic Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • Plant Extracts
  • Silicone Gels
  • Sitosterols
  • TGFB3 protein, human
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta3
  • allantoin, heparin, onion extract drug combination
  • moist exposed burn ointment
  • Allantoin
  • Heparin
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A