Scarless wound healing: chasing the holy grail

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2015 Mar;135(3):907-917. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000000972.


Over 100 million patients acquire scars in the industrialized world each year, primarily as a result of elective operations. Although undefined, the global incidence of scarring is even larger, extending to significant numbers of burn and other trauma-related wounds. Scars have the potential to exert a profound psychological and physical impact on the individual. Beyond aesthetic considerations and potential disfigurement, scarring can result in restriction of movement and reduced quality of life. The formation of a scar following skin injury is a consequence of wound healing occurring through reparative rather than regenerative mechanisms. In this article, the authors review the basic stages of wound healing; differences between adult and fetal wound healing; various mechanical, genetic, and pharmacologic strategies to reduce scarring; and the biology of skin stem/progenitor cells that may hold the key to scarless regeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cicatrix / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Skin / physiopathology*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Wound Healing / physiology*