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May 12, 1989

Silicone Gel Appears Inexplicably to Flatten, Lighten Hypertrophic Scars From Burns

JAMA. 1989;261(18):2600. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420180018004

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THE SNUG PRESSURE suits worn by burn patients to prevent hypertophic scarring are hot, scratchy and uncomfortable, and frequently have to be worn for more than 6 months. There may be a better alternative.

The same silicone used for breast implants, when applied as a topical gel, flattens and lightens hypertrophic scars, according to a presentation at the recent annual meeting of the American Burn Association in New Orleans, La. Treatment with silicone gel also seems to improve the elasticity of the tough, fibrous scar tissue.

New Zealand Observation  Thomas Mustoe, MD, an assistant professor of surgery, Sang Tae Ahn, MD, a surgical fellow, and William Monafo, MD, a professor of surgery, all of Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Mo, performed the study. Mustoe says the initial observation that a simple silicone gel dressing had a salubrious effect on hypertrophic scars came from New Zealand in about 1981.