Will Silicone Gel Improve the Look of Surgical Scars?
Learn more about the safety and efficacy of silicone gel in the treatment of the different types of scars.
Altering one’s appearance or improving the function of a certain body part through surgery always leaves a mark – scar formation on the incision site is an inevitable consequence of the wound healing process. Depending on the type of surgery, large or highly visible scars can develop. Over time, the scars on the surgical incision may change its shape or become sunken, which can negatively affect the appearance of your skin as well as your self-esteem. While most scars will fade and become less prominent after several months, they never completely disappear. However, there are non-invasive cosmetic solutions such as silicone gel that can help improve the appearance of your surgical scars.
What is Silicone Gel?
Silicone gel is an ultra-thin silicone gel that is applied to scars. It’s an over-the-counter treatment for different types of scars. You’ll need to wear it 24 hours per day to achieve your desired aesthetic goals.
Dr Briggs recommends patients use Strataderm to treat scars post-surgically, Strataderm is available in clinic for purchase for your convenience.
How Does Silicone Gel Work?
An overwhelming body of clinical evidence suggests that silicone gel can significantly improve the appearance of surgical scars through the following mechanisms:
- Improves wound hydration and occlusion: Silicone gel helps prevent the stratum corneum, the outermost skin layer, from getting dehydrated.  It retains water levels in the skin, thus providing adequate hydration to the newly formed, underdeveloped stratum corneum. Also, silicone gel creates a level of occlusion that is very similar to normal skin, which in turn reduces the activity of inflammatory cytokines and fibroblasts (cells involved in wound healing and scar formation). 
- Reduces wound tension: Silicone gel transfer tension from the wound edges to the silicone, which provides an ideal environment for normal scar formation because this mechanism reduces the risk of additional damage to the scar area. 
- Decreases blood flow to the scar site: Silicone gel has been found to inhibit hyperemia, the body’s natural reaction to skin injury which is characterised by increased blood flow to the site of damaged tissues. This, in turn, reduces blood supply to the scar site, resulting in decreased scar formation. 
- Aids in the alignment of structural proteins: Proper alignment of structural proteins during the wound healing phase is known to prevent the formation of raised scars. By creating friction between the sheet and the skin, silicone gel generates a negatively charged static electric field that aids in the proper alignment of structural proteins. 
What Types of Scars can benefit from the Application of Silicone Gel?
Specific scars on any part of the body can benefit from a silicone strip application.
These include the following:
1. Hypertrophic scars: These scars are thick, wide, and are usually raised or elevated.
2. Keloid scars: These are large, elevated scars that can be skin-coloured, pinkish, reddish, or darker than the surrounding skin.
Is Silicone Gel safe for Scar Reduction?
Silicone gel is an FDA-approved treatment for different types of scars. Clinical trials report that this non-invasive scar reduction treatment is safe and effective in improving the appearance of hypertrophic and keloid scars if worn over the affected skin area for 12-24 hours daily for at least 2-3 months.  These products have a low risk of adverse events compared to more invasive scar reduction treatments like surgical excision, radiation, cryotherapy, laser treatment, and corticosteroid injection.
How effective are Silicone Gel in Improving the Appearance of Scars?
The efficacy of silicone gel in scar reduction is backed by recent studies. For instance, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that the application of silicone gel in patients with hypertrophic and keloid scars for 1-16 months significantly improved the colour, thickness, and elasticity of scars. 
A 2016 study published in Advances in Skin and Wound Care reported that silicone strip application in patients with postoperative scars resulted in significant improvement in pigmentation, pliability, vascularity, length, and height of the scars compared with untreated patients. 
While most studies on the safety and efficacy of silicone gel reported significant improvements in the appearance and structure of hypertrophic and keloid scars, it is important to keep in mind that the results of this non-invasive treatment will greatly depend on the extent and severity of your scar and your body’s healing ability.
Before and After Scar Treated with Silicone Gel
What are the Advantages of Silicone Gel?
Silicone gel can offer the following advantages:
- Lower risk of adverse effects
- Comes in different sizes
- Blends with the natural colour of skin
- Readily available
What are the Disadvantages of Silicone Gel?
Like any other non-invasive treatments, it also has disadvantages:
- Needs to be reapplied every 12 hours and after showering
- Dependant on size of scar it can be expensive
- Potential for hypersensitivity reaction
- Visible results can be observed after 2-3 months of continuous application
Undergoing a non-invasive scar reduction treatment such as silicone gel application is an extremely personal decision. If you want to know more about the types of silicone gel that can work best for your surgical scars as well as aesthetic goals, send in an enquiry form below or call us today.
About Our Plastic Surgeon – Dr Patrick Briggs FRCS (Plast)
Dr Patrick Briggs offers high quality, natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results and is experienced in Breast, Body and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice. With world-wide expertise Dr Patrick Briggs is an expert in breast, face and body surgery for men and women.
Book your Initial Surgery Consultation
- Email us or Call on 1300 264811 to arrange your initial consultation appointment with Dr Patrick Briggs.
- A Referral from your GP or specialist is helpful but NOT essential – you can have a consultation without a GP Referral.
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- Suetak T, Sasai S, Zhen YX, Tagami H. Effects of silicone gel sheet on the stratum corneum hydration. Br J Plast Surg. 2000;53(6):503-507. doi:10.1054/bjps.2000.3388.
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