Several prescription and over-the-counter topical agents are available, many claim to alleviate symptoms, improve the appearance of scars and accelerate wound healing. Topical therapies have the advantage of being easy to use, are easily available and deliver the ingredients directly to the scar. Patients often decide (maybe based on word of mouth) themselves on which topical agents to use rather than through recommendations from a scar specialist. Topicals are not usually effective on their own and other treatments are also usually necessary. Some information on common topicals is given here:
Scar massage is a non-surgical technique used in day-to-day scar and burn care. There are multiple techniques that can be used and that are quite easy to apply.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is a type of pulsed acoustic wave resulting from excessive pressure changes. It has been used to treat musculoskeletal diseases (plantar fasciitis, lateral epicondylitis of the elbow, etc.) and wounds. Recent research has shown that ESWT is effective in stimulating biological activities that involve cellular activity. These results suggest that ESWT improves blood perfusion and can be used in tissue regeneration/ scar remodelling. Shockwave treatment is performed without anaesthesia; a treatment head and gel are applied to the area of scar treated.
The Ablative Fractional Laser (AFL) is a wounding laser, which delivers micro fractional columns of laser light to the top layers of the skin. This treatment works by creating thousands of microscopic areas, through heat, where the top layer of the skin is ablated (removed). These tiny areas of damage are surrounded by untreated skin, this allows healing of the skin. Traditional ablative laser resurfacing can take on average up to three weeks to heal. Types of ablative treatments include the carbon dioxide (CO2) laser and the erbium laser. AFL is performed under local anaesthesia.