Physical Management of Scar Tissue: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

J Altern Complement Med. 2020 Oct;26(10):854-865. doi: 10.1089/acm.2020.0109. Epub 2020 Jun 24.


Objective: The aim of this systematic review with meta-analysis was to describe the status on the effects of physical scar treatments on pain, pigmentation, pliability, pruritus, scar thickening, and surface area. Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Subjects: Adults with any kind of scar tissue. Interventions: Physical scar management versus control or no scar management. Outcome measures: Pain, pigmentation, pliability, pruritus, surface area, scar thickness. Results: The overall results revealed that physical scar management is beneficial compared with the control treatment regarding the management of pain (p = 0.012), pruritus (p < 0.001), pigmentation (p = 0.010), pliability (p < 0.001), surface area (p < 0.001), and thickness (p = 0.022) of scar tissue in adults. The observed risk of bias was high for blinding of participants and personnel (47%) and low for other bias (100%). Conclusions: Physical scar management demonstrates moderate-to-strong effects on improvement of scar issues as related to signs and symptoms. These results show the importance of specific physical management of scar tissue.

Keywords: cicatrix; conservative treatment; meta-analysis; physical therapy modalities; skin.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cicatrix / pathology*
  • Cicatrix / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pigmentation Disorders / pathology
  • Pigmentation Disorders / therapy*
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Pruritus / pathology
  • Pruritus / therapy*
  • Wound Healing*