ESWT: Novel Approach for Keratinocytes from Hypertrophic Scars

October 7, 2021  |  By Elise Hamann

ESWT - Novel Approach for Keratinocytes from Hypertrophic ScarsThe challenges of treating hypertrophic scars, a common complication in burn patients, are complex and numerous.

Consider the debilitating impact on burn patients, with complications ranging from cosmetic defects, sensory abnormalities that include pain, itching, and severe dysfunction depending on the site, to co-occurring emotional disruptions of anxiety and/or depression.

Indeed, there must be a way to provide relief to burn patients who suffer from hypertrophic scars.

A recent study in Scientific Reports, Nature Portfolio, reveals the regenerative effects of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy. ESWT plays a pivotal role in regulating hypertrophic scar-derived keratinocytes' proliferation and differentiation to enhance epidermal integrity. Dive into the details by reviewing the complete study to learn how shock wave altered the molecular patterns of proliferation, activation, and differentiation at a molecular level.

What are Keratinocytes?

Keratinocytes are the primary cell type of the epidermis, the outermost layers of the skin, and account for approximately 90 percent of the cells there. They originate in the deepest layer of the epidermis and move up to the final barrier layer of the skin.

What is a Hypertrophic Scar?

Hypertonic scars can be identified as a thick raised scar that develops as an abnormal response to wound healing. Commonly, the scarring appears following trauma such as burns.

While the scars aren't life-threatening – they can wreak havoc for recovering burn patients – causing pain, itching, psychological distress, and shame due to cosmetic appearance.

Hypertrophic scarring is one of the most common complications after burn injury. The proliferation of scar tissue occurs due to abnormal healing and scar maturation process while the exact mechanism remains unknown. Typically, this type of scarring is accompanied by excessive deposition of extracellular matrix and increases scar thickness, decreases skin elasticity, and contributes to continuous pain and itching at the scar site.

Additionally, when the hypertrophic scarring and the accompanying thickening of skin occurs near joints, it dramatically impedes patient movement and impacts daily living activities and the healing journey.

Novel Approach Provides New Hope to Burn Patients

Traditional treatments for hypertrophic scarring include the following:

  • Compression clothing
  • Silicone gel
  • Scar massage
  • Laser treatment
  • Intralesional injection
  • Surgical removal
  • Any combination of the above

While the options are many, a new, non-invasive approach such as shock wave therapy is a welcome and effective addition to the treatment options.

Because Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) has been used successfully in reducing inflammation and regenerating soft tissue in treating musculoskeletal disorders and facilitating noteworthy results in wound healing — it's an ideal fit and innovative treatment option for burn patients.


ESWT Treatment Enhances Healing in Keratinocytes from Hypertrophic Scars

A previous in vitro study demonstrated that treating fibroblasts derived from hypertrophic scars (HTS) with shock wave therapy produced an antifibrotic effect. This study aims to identify the molecular mechanisms produced by ESWT to enhance healing in keratinocytes derived from hypertonic scars.

Ultimately, the study confirmed that shock wave therapy altered the expression of proliferation and differentiation at a molecular level in hypertrophic scars. Remarkably the increased or decreased molecular expression in HTSKs in a 24-to-72- hour period after treatment with ESWT was close to that of a normal cell. This dynamic regulation offers tremendous hope to burn patients and medical professionals treating them.

In conclusion, the study confirmed that extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) dynamically regulates proliferation, activation, and differentiation of keratinocytes originating from hypertrophic scar tissue. This evidence provides clinical proof of the value of shock wave therapy for post-burn scarring.


ESWT Therapy Offers Relief to Burn Patients with Scarring Complications?

Before ESWT, scarring complications were formidable. Fortunately, that's no longer the case.

By producing an analgesic effect and facilitating cellular renewal, ESWT offers immense relief to post-burn patients. Treatment also enables patients to participate in other rehabilitation treatments more comfortably.

Add this to the ever-growing body of evidence that supports the use of ESWT; this is yet another way that shock wave is at the forefront of wound care. For more on wound care, please read our blog on ESWT in Aesthetic Medicine, Burns & Dermatology

Offering breakthrough treatments like shock wave allow medical practitioners to invite new patients to their practices and deliver outstanding outcomes to their patients.

Are you looking to upgrade your treatment toolbox by adding EPAT/ESTW– attract new patients – and reap the rewards?

Did you know that CuraMedix offers our medical practice partners first-rate marketing support to foster remarkable growth? It's one way we differentiate our company – by ensuring our practice partners get fully supported from day one.

Ready for a deep research dive on EPAT/ESWT in practice? Be sure to browse our offering of Level 10 Publications.

Have questions about EPAT/ESWT and wonder what adding it to your continuum of care would mean to your patients and your practice? We're eager to serve and are happy to connect you with one of our shock wave experts — Contact us today!

Topics: Research, ESWT