What is the mechanism of action for compression therapy in the treatment of keloids and hypertrophic scars?

Updated: May 29, 2020
  • Author: Brian Berman, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Compression therapy involves pressure, which has long been known to have thinning effects on skin. Reduction in the cohesiveness of collagen fibers in pressure-treated hypertrophic scars has been demonstrated by electron microscopy.

Cellular mechanoreceptors may have an important role of compression therapy. Mechanoreceptors induce apoptosis and are involved in the integrity of the extracellular matrix. An increase in extracellular matrix rigidity produced by compression garments leads to a higher level of mechanoreceptor activity and therefore more cellular apoptosis. Migration, proliferation, and differentiation of cells has been shown to be affected by rigidity; therefore, the rigidity caused by compression may also inhibit the differentiation and proliferation of scar fibroblasts in vivo. [5, 6]

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