Scarring can have a negative impact on patients’ quality of life, according to research presented by Joseph F. Sobanko, MD, FAAD, at the American Academy of Dermatology Summer Meeting in Boston.
“While some may consider scarring to be a cosmetic concern, it can really affect patients’ psychosocial health,” Sobanko, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, stated in a press release from the AAD. “Physical appearance plays a major role in how people relate to others, so scarring that alters physical appearance – even if some would characterize it as minor – can have a negative impact on patients’ quality of life.”
Patients with scars in highly visible areas, including the face, younger patients and those with occupations that require frequent interaction with others were most bothered by scarring, according to research being presented by Sobanko at a symposium, which also included scar treatment.
Sobanko reports that he was surprised to learn from research that patients would “go to any lengths to minimize scarring,” according to the release.
“A visible scar serves as a constant reminder of a negative experiences in the patient’s life, like a serious burn or a skin cancer diagnosis,” Sobanko stated in the release. “By improving a scar’s appearance, dermatologists also can help patients overcome whatever trauma caused that scar.”
Steroid injections or laser treatments can be combined to break down excess collagen in hypertrophic scars, while dermal filler injections or laser treatments can be used to build up collagen to treat pitted or atrophic scars, Sobanko reported.
A combination of the minimally invasive treatments can sometimes be used to improve scarring appearance. More severe cases may require surgically reopening the scar and reclosing it, Sobanko reported.
Patients should manage their expectations with scar improvement, he said.
“No treatment can remove scars completely, and healing takes time, so [patients] should look for a gradual improvement in appearance, rather than instantaneous results,” Sobanko stated in the release.
Sobanko also stated that he does not recommend over-the-counter treatment for scars due to the lack of solid scientific evidence supporting efficacy.
Sobanko J, S009 – Advice from Experts: Improving Your Cosmetic and Dermatologic Surgery Diagnostic and Management Skills. Presented at: American Academy of Dermatology Summer Meeting; July 28-31; Boston.
Disclosure: Sobanko reports no relevant financial disclosures.