A new device that can ascertain the orientation of skin tension lines may help minimize scarring during cosmetic surgery, according to research out of Binghamton University in New York.
Tension lines guide incisions that produce the least conspicuous scars. While there are many skin tension guidelines to help surgeons make incisions that create unnoticeable scars, skin anisotropy is believed to vary from subject to subject, with no single guideline universally recognized as the best to implement for surgical applications.
If you make incisions across the direction that collagen is aligned, the risk of keloid scar formation is increased, but when you cut along the direction of the aligned collagen and wounds heal better and produce less scarring, explains Guy German, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Binghamton University.
Surgeons currently use either skin tension line maps or manual manipulation to find the local orientation of skin tension to guide these decisions. The new device is more efficient than these methods, as it only uses a single test that lasts a few seconds to measure skin tension orientation.
"Our device can measure the skin tension line direction accurately and quickly," explains German. "Other devices exist that do this. However, many devices require more than one measurement to establish the direction, and the devices that use a single test can currently only measure the skin tension direction to an accuracy of 45 degrees. Rather than using guidelines, our device directly measures the skin tension direction, avoiding the need to use maps or guidelines. We believe our device is more reliable and accurate than existing methods."
German hopes this device becomes a staple tool used by surgeons.
"We hope that this device will one day be a common piece of equipment in operating rooms. Surgeons will use the device to quickly and accurately establish skin tension line directions, and plan their incisions to minimize scarring," he says.Next Story