Will MatriStem Help My Scar Revision Turn Out Better?

Q : I have a bad scalp scar from a prior brain surgery that I would like revised. I have read about a product from a company called Acell that says it can make scars heal and look better if put into it at the time of the surgery. I have talked to someone at the company and it sounds very promising. Have you ever heard of it and would you use for my scar revision?

A: The search for ‘pixie dust’ in plastic surgery is both alluring and ongoing. We would love to be able to add something to our surgical wounds and incisions that would make them heal better and scar less. While this is of great interest in plastic surgery, I suspect every other surgical specialty would feel the same.

The company to which you refer is known as ACell, Inc. which has developed an implantable material that exergts its effect through the concept of regenerative technology. The product name is MatriStem which is a bioscaffold derived from porcine tissue. (from their bladders) When implanted into a surgical site or wound, it is resorbed and replaced with normal tissue where scar tissue would normally be expected. It purportedly does this by bypassing the typical inflammatory process of wound healing and inducing the body to heal the wound with tissue that is native to the site rather than just dense scar, It comes in sheets and a powder form (micronized particles). It is this powder form that some may call pixie dust. The product is relatively new and has been used for a diverse range of wounds including partial and full-thickness skin wounds, pressure ulcers, venous stasis ulcers, diabetic ulcers, skin donor sites and grafts, after laser skin resurfacing, burns and traumatic abrasions and lacerations.

The material is certainly easy to place into a wound and could be easily applied at the time of closure of your scalp scar revision. It is also not overly expensive as medical products go. Whether your scar will turn out better as a result of using MatriStem particles is unknown but there is no downside to doing so and it does sound promising.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana