Q: My 13 year-old daughter was bitten by a bull mastiff just 4 days. She has a lot of jagged lacerations across the nose and just under the left eye. There were no lacerations on her left eyelid or any eyeball trauma. She was repaired in our hospital’s emergency room with a lot of stitches. It was not a fun experience for her to have it done that way with just local anesthesia. It will be time to get her stitches out shortly and I want to be on top of anything that can be done to minimize her scarring.
A: Like any patient that has gotten their face cut, but particularly for the parent of a child, there is always great concern about the eventual scarring that will occur. In the short-term, getting the stitches out and letting the initial healing take place for a few months is all one can do. There are no magical potions or lasers that can alter or make better the early phases of wound healing. Once the wounds have healed and scar tissue has formed (which is inevitable and absolutely necessary for healing) there are highly touted methods of scar treatment. These can include topical agents, such as silicone patches/tapes and paint-on products, as well as light and laser therapies. It is controversial as to how helpful these are as to the final scar appearance but they are not harmful and may have some benefit. Therefore, I would recommend any of them, or a combination, beginning several months after the injury up to six months after. Which one(s) to use will vary based on the opinion and expertise of your plastic surgeon as well as the scar’s appearance and location. After 6 months, actual surgical scar revision becomes more of a useful technique.
Dr. Barry Eppley