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Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2011 Oct;13(4):415-8. doi: 10.1510/icvts.2010.264887. Epub 2011 Jul 7.

Are there any good treatments for keloid scarring after sternotomy?

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Heart Hospital, UCLH, London, UK.


A best evidence topic in cardiac surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was: in patients with hypertrophic and keloid scarring of the sternotomy wound, is surgical excision with or without adjuvant treatment of any benefit in reducing the size of the scar? Altogether, more than 15 papers were found using the reported search, of which nine represented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The authors, journal, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes and results of these papers are tabulated. One of the studies showed no difference between surgery and adjunctive triamcinolone or colchicine. One study showed that incomplete excision resulted in higher recurrence rates. Postoperative radiation was found to be useful in two of the studies, although one study showed that it was not useful. One randomized control trial showed improvement after laser compared to no treatment. Two other trials showed no difference between laser, silicone gel, intralesional steroid or 5-fluorouracil. One trial showed that perioperative systemic steroid application gave rise to no improvement but in fact worsened scar formation. We conclude that small keloids can be treated radically by surgery with adjuvant therapy (radiation or corticosteroid injections) or by non-surgical therapy (corticosteroid injections, laser and anti-tumour/immunosuppressive agents, such as 5-fluorouracil). Large and multiple keloids are difficult to treat radically and are currently only treatable by multimodal therapies that aim to relieve symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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