Advances in science over the centuries can be seen in various areas of medicine. One such area is in the treatment and healing process of wounds. In the past, wounds were treated and left to heal naturally where scar formation was common. However, times have changed and people are more concerned with their physical looks than they were two decades ago. The rise in plastic surgery operations is a clear indication of this increase in physical awareness. This change has led to medical research aimed at discovering ways in which wounds after treatment can be made to heal without forming scars.
Medically, there are two main types of scars; keloid scars and hypertrophic scars (Avocet, 2011). Keloid scars are scars that mostly result in formation of big defacing tumors. Research has linked their occurrence to genes where the patients have genetically abnormal cells that are unable to regulate normal death of scar tissue. Hypertrophic scars on the other hand occur in genetically normal individuals when the inflammation is too big or the phase lasts for too long. This may be caused by mechanical tension on the injury or by high amounts of bacteria in the wound. Both have shown tendencies to enlarge and recede with time and during biological phases like pregnancy.
Wound Healing and Scarring
When a body tissue is injured, the body’s defense mechanism starts initiating the healing process by sending blood to the injured location. This blood combines with the proteins around the injured tissue to cause an inflammation. This process involves fibroblasts producing collagen and is initiated to block bacteria from entering the wound by closing the wound (Sciencedaily, 2007. Next, the neighboring tissue cells increase as new vessels and an epithelium are formed. In a process involving old tissue degradation and biosynthesis of new tissue resulting in production of scar tissue. This stage is called the transitional repair phase. The final stage is the maturation phase where upon accumulation of enough scar tissue, production stops and enzyme activity is directed towards degrading the scar tissue. In the end, the size of the scar formed is directly related to the extent of inflammation, level of mechanical tension (based on location of the scar) and the individual’s genetic formula. These are the main processes involved in wound healing. However, they can be rearranged to introduce a four stage, hemastosis, so that they start by hemastosis, where the tissues around the wound begin to fill with blood, followed by inflammation, then proliferation and finally the remodeling of cells through degradation of scar tissue (Viera et al, 2010).
Medical research and advances have been aimed at reducing or controlling the formation of scar tissue to ensure that no unsightly scars are left behind when a wound heals. Doctors are now using new techniques to inhibit scar growth, to accelerate the rate of scar tissue degradation or to induce degradation of scar...