Scarless Surgery Could Be in Our Future

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In a perfect world, you would be able to undergo surgery of any kind and reap the benefits without having to be left behind with scars. While it sounds more like a pipedream than reality, a new study issued by the University of Pennsylvania is saying otherwise.

Developed as an alternative healing process, doctors at the college have discovered a way to influence the skin as it heals from an incision point so that scar tissue isn’t created. In a nutshell, any sign of a scar would be barely detectable and almost completely invisible.

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So how does it work? Purportedly, the cells that are typically found in wounds (myofibroblasts) have to be morphed into fat cells, which isn’t easy. Researchers spent years figuring out a way to manipulate myofibroblasts into fat cells, which don’t leave behind scars. “Essentially, we can manipulate wound healing so that it leads to skin regeneration rather than scarring,” said lead investigator and Philadelphia dermatologist George Cotsarelis, MD. “The secret is to regenerate hair follicles first. After that, the fat will regenerate in response to the signals from those follicles.”

“Scarless surgery has always been the ‘unachievable goal’ of any surgery, especially plastic surgery. We use a plethora of creams, lasers, injections and even radiation therapy to prevent and treat poor scarring. To think that the ability to perform surgery without creating scars could be within our reach is extremely exciting for all surgeons,” says Troy, MI, plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD.

While scarless surgery isn’t available at doctor’s offices just yet, this new advancement shows promise and can open up the idea of surgery—especially plastic surgery—to a whole new type of patient who would never consider a procedure simply because of the scars.

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