Comparison of Postsurgical Scars Between Vegan and Omnivore Patients

Dermatol Surg. 2020 Dec;46(12):1572-1576. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000002553.


Background: Postsurgical skin healing can result in different scars types, ranging from a fine line to pathologic scars, in relation to patients' intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Although the role of nutrition in influencing skin healing is known, no previous studies investigated if the vegan diet may affect postsurgical wounds.

Objective: The aim of this study was to compare surgical scars between omnivore and vegan patients.

Methods and materials: This is a prospective observational study. Twenty-one omnivore and 21 vegan patients who underwent surgical excision of a nonmelanoma skin cancer were enrolled. Postsurgical complications and scar quality were evaluated using the modified Scar Cosmesis Assessment and Rating (SCAR) scale.

Results: Vegans showed a significantly lower mean serum iron level (p < .001) and vitamin B12 (p < .001). Wound diastasis was more frequent in vegans (p = .008). After 6 months, vegan patients had a higher modified SCAR score than omnivores (p < .001), showing the worst scar spread (p < .001), more frequent atrophic scars (p < .001), and worse overall impression (p < .001).

Conclusion: This study suggests that a vegan diet may negatively influence the outcome of surgical scars.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cicatrix / blood
  • Cicatrix / diagnosis*
  • Cicatrix / epidemiology
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Diet, Vegan / adverse effects*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Surgical Wound / blood
  • Surgical Wound / complications*
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / blood
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / epidemiology*
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / etiology
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Iron
  • Vitamin B 12