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Scars: A Treatment to Limit Their Appearance After a Burn

Updated on March 4, 2020
skin burn
skin burn | Source

Scars: a treatment to limit their appearance after a burn

Researchers have developed a novel, non-invasive method to treat the pronounced marks and reduce the healing process after a major burn.

While mild burns cause barely visible marks, the most severe cases require the skin to initiate its regeneration mechanism, which leaves permanent marks that are often unsightly. Researchers at Tel Aviv University and Harvard University have developed a new non-invasive method to prevent the appearance of these scars, which can have a real psychological impact on people following the traumatic experience.

Their system consists of preventing the excessive proliferation of collagen cells, the body's natural response to trauma such as a burn. To accomplish this, they used pulsed electric fields, a technique they called partial irreversible electroporation.

This involves controlling this natural response by sending electrical micro pulses into the skin area where the burn is located, which acts directly on the collagen cells. The researchers had to find the right balance so that their technique would not cause new wounds or, even worse, would not heal the wound too pronouncedly, causing the skin to grow out.

More than half of the scar disappears

They then tested their procedure on burned rats for five sessions over six months and evaluated its effectiveness using the innovative technique. They found a 57.9% reduction in the scar area compared to an untreated scar.

"Scarring is a very complex process, involving inflammation and metabolism," said Dr. Golberg, lead author of the study. We have found a way to partially prevent scarring in animal models. The researchers now want to raise funds to conduct clinical studies in humans. They also hope to achieve better results than other projects conducted over the years to treat scars.

"Surgical excision, laser therapy, electron beam irradiation, compression bandaging, silicone sheeting, topical application of silicone-based creams, and other techniques have been tested, but there have been only slight improvements in healing results among these treatments," the study authors conclude. Until such a treatment is available, it is still possible to limit the risk of scarring by stopping the burning process.

According to the World Health Organization, it is recommended to use fresh tap water to reduce the temperature of the burn, not to apply tissue directly to the wound and to avoid local application of medication without the advice of a health professional.

© 2020 Monika Hristova

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