The Story on Scar Treatment

Scar treatment strategies reviewed as they relate to children, teens

(RxWiki News) Being a teenager can be hard enough as it is. But when a scar is added to the mix, things can get a whole lot more complicated.

A scar is a pink, brown or silvery patch of skin that grows in the place of a cut, burn or sore. This is the skin's way of repairing itself after injury. Some scars fade over time. Others don't. If yours doesn't and that bothers you, there are many treatments that can make scars less noticeable, such as medicated creams, laser treatments or even surgery.

In a new report, researchers outlined some of these cutting-edge scar treatments as they relate directly to children and teens. They explained that, cosmetic concerns aside, scars can also cause severe itching or unpleasant sensations and be tender or painful — all of which can disrupt sleep and daily activities.

"For most children and adolescents who have developed symptomatic scars, cosmetic concerns are only a portion of the motivation that drives them and their caregivers to obtain treatment," wrote lead author Andrew C. Krakowski, MD, a pediatric dermatologist at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, and colleagues. "Any scar can be symptomatic, and even clinically benign-appearing scars may cause a patient physical, psychological, and social comorbidities leading to severe impairment of quality of life."

When caring for children and teens, Dr. Krakowski and team advised doctors to take into account that scar severity and type may not always match a patient’s distress about his or her scar. Rather, scar location, a patients’ own rating of scar severity and the personality traits of the patient may better predict a scar's psychological impact.

These researchers also noted that a single doctor may not have the experience or expertise necessary to consider or implement all of the treatment options available to children and teens with scars. Instead, they suggested bringing experts in dermatology, plastic surgery, trauma/abuse counseling, psychiatry and social work together to form a single "scar team."

According to Dr. Krakowski and team, the current scar treatment options include corticosteroids, fat grafting, surgical tissue removal, surgical revision, laser resurfacing and laser-assisted medication delivery. Several other treatment options may be on the horizon.

This study was published Jan. 7 in the journal Pediatrics. No funding sources or conflicts of interest were disclosed.

Review Date: 
January 6, 2016