Can Silicone Gel Improve the Appearance 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. Unfortunately, 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 shape or become sunken. Which can negatively affect not only the appearance of your skin but your self-esteem as well.

Recovery Guide – Download Dr Briggs FREE Guide

Recovery Download

Although most scars will fade and become less prominent after several months, they will never completely disappear. However, there are non-invasive cosmetic solutions such as silicone gel that can help improve the appearance of your surgical scars, For more Non-Surgical Scar Treatments, click here.

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. However, you’ll need to wear it 24 hours a day to achieve your desired aesthetic goals.

Furthermore, Dr Briggs recommends patients use Strataderm to treat scars post-surgically. For your convenience, you can purchase Strataderm in our clinic.

How Does it Work?

An overwhelming body of clinical evidence suggests that silicone gel can significantly improve the appearance of surgical scars through the following mechanisms:

  • Firstly, it improves wound hydration and occlusion.
    • Silicone gel helps prevent the stratum corneum, the outermost skin layer, from getting dehydrated. [1]
    • It retains water levels in the skin, thus providing adequate hydration to the newly formed, underdeveloped stratum corneum.
    • Silicone gel also 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). [2]
  • Secondly, it 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. [3]
  • Thirdly, it 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. [4]
  • And, finally, it 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. [5]

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 gel application. These include the following;

1. Hypertrophic scars: These scars are both, thick and wide, and are usually also 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. [6] 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. [7]

A 2016 study published in Advances in Skin and Wound Care also reported that silicone gel application in patients with postoperative scars resulted in significant improvement in pigmentation, pliability, vascularity, length, and height of the scars compared with untreated patients. [8]
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.

Silicon-Strips-vanish-scars

What are the Advantages of Silicone Gel?

Like most things, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this product. Below is a list of some of these.

Advantages include;

  • Painless
  • Non-invasive
  • Lower risk of adverse effects
  • it comes in many different sizes
  • It also blends with the natural colour of skin
  • And, it’s readily available.

While the disadvantages are as follows;

Like any other non-invasive treatment, it also has disadvantages, including;

  • Needs to be reapplied every 12 hours and also after showering
  • Dependant on size of scar it can be expensive
  • There is also potential for hypersensitivity reaction
  • Visible results can be observed after 2-3 months of continuous application. In other words, results may seem slow.

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. 

References:

  1. 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.
  2. Kelemen O, Hegedűs G, Kollár L, Menyhei G, Seress L. Morphological analysis of the connective tissue reaction in linear hypertrophic scars treated with intralesional steroid or silicone-gel sheeting. A light and electron microscopic study. Acta Biol Hung 2008;59:129–145.
  3. Akaishi S, Akimoto M, Hyakusoku H, Ogawa R. 142B: the relationship between keloid growth pattern and stretching tension-visual analysis using the finite element method. Plast Reconstr Surg 2010;125:96. 
  4. Rabello FB, Souza CD, Farina Júnior JA. Update on hypertrophic scar treatment. Clinics 2014;69:565–573. 
  5. Borgognoni L. Biological effects of silicone gel sheeting. Wound Repair Regen 2002;10:118–121
  6. Berman B, Perez OA, Konda S, et al. A review of the biologic effects, clinical efficacy, and safety of silicone elastomer sheeting for hypertrophic and keloid scar treatment and management. Dermatol Surg. 2007;33(11):1291-1303. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4725.2007.33280.
  7. Westra I, Pham H, Niessen FB. Topical Silicone Sheet Application in the Treatment of Hypertrophic Scars and Keloids. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016;9(10):28-35. 
  8. Kim JS, Hong JP, Choi JW, Seo DK, Lee ES, Lee HS. The Efficacy of a Silicone Sheet in Postoperative Scar Management. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2016;29(9):414-420. doi:10.1097/01.ASW.0000488665.03896.3d. 
Dr Patrick Briggs Specialist Plastic Surgeon

Dr Patrick Briggs
FRCS (Plas)

Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Melbourne

Dr Patrick Briggs is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon. Both he and his team are dedicated to excellence in patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.

Not only does he offer high-quality results he also offers natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results. Furthermore, he is experienced in Breast, Body and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice. 

Dr Patrick Briggs is an expert in breast, face and body surgery for men and women.

How can we help?

Dr Briggs’ Patient Coordinators take pleasure in assisting you with any questions when considering a plastic surgery procedure. Please call the Hawthorn East clinic in Melbourne between 8 am – 6 pm on Weekdays.

Phone 1300 264 811Email us or Book a free 15-minute Call with Dr Patrick Briggs’s team.

What Next?

Want more information about your Procedure?

  • For more information about pricing and payment methods, please visit our page on Surgery Payment options.
  • Talk to our Patient Care Team from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday on 1300 264 811.
Dr Patrick Briggs consultation

What to Bring to Your Consultation

  • If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
  • Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
  • You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.

How to Book a Consultation

  • Dr Briggs Consultation fee is $300.
  • A referral from your GP or your specialist is helpful but not essential. However,
  • To claim any Medicare or Health Insurance you will need a referral.
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery today to book your consultation.