Hypertrophic scarring: the greatest unmet challenge after burn injury
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Improvements in acute burn care have enabled patients to survive massive burns that would have once been fatal. Now up to 70% of patients develop hypertrophic scars after burns. The functional and psychosocial sequelae remain a major rehabilitative challenge, decreasing quality of life and delaying reintegration into society. Approaches to optimise healing potential of burn wounds use targeted wound care and surgery to minimise the development of hypertrophic scarring. Such approaches often fail, and modulation of the established scar is continued although the optimal indication, timing, and combination of therapies have yet to be established. The need for novel treatments is paramount, and future efforts to improve outcomes and quality of life should include optimisation of wound healing to attenuate or prevent hypertrophic scarring, well-designed trials to confirm treatment efficacy, and further elucidation of molecular mechanisms to allow development of new preventive and therapeutic strategies.
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