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AAD: Techniques Lessen Scars After Skin Cancer Surgery

Intrasurgery dermabrasion, new stitching techniques, can lessen appearance of scars

MONDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Innovations in dermatological surgical techniques are providing patients with more options to minimize the appearance of facial scars after skin cancer surgery, according to research presented at the American Academy of Dermatology's 66th Annual Meeting this week in San Antonio, Texas.

Tri H. Nguyen, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, discussed the latest innovations and techniques to minimize scarring after excision of facial skin cancers.

The barbed suture technique utilizes a running "baseball stitch" instead of multiple stitch knots to unite the deep tissue of the wound, resulting in minimized scar appearance, particularly on thick skin such as the scalp. Dermabrasion or laser treatment of the incision line at the time of surgery removes the epidermis, leading to a smoother healed surface. Finally, in patients who require skin grafting, the use of skin substitutes is a promising alternative.

"Skin substitutes are a good option for patients who don't have a lot of healthy skin to use for a graft, such as those with widespread sun damage," explained Nguyen. "Another benefit is that skin substitutes eliminate the need for a second surgery site, and for very deep wounds skin substitutes can be used underneath the skin to plump and shape depressed areas."

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