Hypertrophic scars are raised, thickened, and often itchy scars that develop as a result of the overproduction of collagen during the healing process of a wound. These scars can be a cosmetic concern for many people, and often lead to questions about whether they will go away over time.
The short answer is that hypertrophic scars can go away, but it depends on a variety of factors including the severity of the scar, the location of the scar, and the treatment options used. In this article, we'll explore these factors in more detail and provide scientific evidence for the different treatment options available.
Severity of the Scar
The severity of a hypertrophic scar can play a significant role in whether or not it will go away over time. Mild hypertrophic scars, which are raised but not very thick, may fade and become less noticeable over time without any treatment. However, more severe hypertrophic scars, which are thicker and more pronounced, are less likely to go away on their own and may require treatment to improve their appearance.
Location of the Scar
The location of a hypertrophic scar can also impact its ability to go away. Scars that are located in areas with a lot of tension, such as the back, chest, or shoulders, are more likely to become thicker and more pronounced over time. This is because the constant movement and stretching of the skin in these areas can disrupt the healing process and lead to the overproduction of collagen.
Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to help reduce the appearance of hypertrophic scars. These options range from non-invasive treatments such as silicone gel sheets and compression therapy, to more invasive procedures such as laser therapy and surgical scar revision.
Silicone Gel Sheets
Silicone gel sheets are a non-invasive treatment option that can help reduce the appearance of hypertrophic scars. These sheets are placed directly on the scar and work by creating a moist environment that helps to soften and flatten the scar. They can be worn for several hours a day or overnight, and are typically used for several months to achieve the best results.
Compression therapy is another non-invasive treatment option that can help reduce the appearance of hypertrophic scars. This therapy involves wearing a pressure garment or bandage over the scar to help reduce swelling and improve blood flow to the area. Compression therapy is typically used in conjunction with other treatments, such as silicone gel sheets, and is usually worn for several months.
Laser therapy is a more invasive treatment option that involves using a laser to remove the top layer of skin and stimulate collagen production in the underlying layers. This helps to break down the scar tissue and promote the growth of new, healthy tissue. Laser therapy is typically done in a series of treatments over several months and can be effective in reducing the appearance of hypertrophic scars.
Surgical Scar Revision
Surgical scar revision is a more invasive treatment option that involves removing the scar tissue and repositioning the skin to create a less noticeable scar. This procedure is typically reserved for more severe hypertrophic scars that have not responded to other treatments.
Let's Look at the Evidence
Several studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of different treatment options for hypertrophic scars. A 2019 review of the literature on the treatment of hypertrophic scars found that silicone gel sheets and compression therapy were both effective in reducing the height and thickness of hypertrophic scars, while laser therapy and surgical scar revision were effective in reducing the overall appearance of the scar.
Another study published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery evaluated the effectiveness of a combination of silicone gel sheets and compression therapy in reducing the appearance of hypertrophic scars. The study found that this combination treatment was effective in reducing the height and thickness of hypertrophic scars, as well as improving the overall appearance of the scar.