RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Intralesional cryotherapy for enhancing the involution of hypertrophic scars and keloids.

Although therapeutic management of hypertrophic scars and keloids using contact or spray cryosurgery has yielded significant improvement or complete regression of hypertrophic scars and keloids, it requires one to 20 treatment sessions. This study was designed to assess the clinical safety and efficacy of an intralesional needle cryoprobe method in the treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids. Ten patients, ranging in age from 3 to 54 years, with a total of 12 hypertrophic scars and keloids of more than 6 months duration and of diverse causes, were included in this study. The 18-month trial evaluated volume reduction of the hypertrophic scars and keloids after a single session of intralesional cryotherapy. Objective (hardness and color) and subjective (pain/tenderness and itchiness/discomfort) parameters were examined on a scale of 0 to 3 (low score was better). Pretreatment and posttreatment histomorphometric studies of the collagen fibers included spectral picrosirius red polarization and fast Fourier transformation orientation index. A specially designed cryo-needle was inserted into the long axis of the hypertrophic scars and keloids so as to maximize the volume of the hypertrophic scars and keloids to be frozen. The cryo-needle was connected by an adaptor to a cryogun filled with liquid nitrogen, which was introduced into the cryoprobe, thereby freezing the hypertrophic scars and keloids. After the hypertrophic scars and keloids were completely frozen, the cryoprobe defrosted and was withdrawn. An average of 51.4 percent of scar volume reduction was achieved after one session of intralesional cryosurgery treatment (average preoperative hypertrophic scars and keloids volume, 1.82 +/- 0.33; average posttreatment volume, 0.95 +/- 0.21; p < 0.0022). Significant alleviation of objective and subjective clinical symptoms was documented. Mild pain or discomfort during and after the procedure was easily managed. Only mild local edema and epidermolysis, followed by a short reepithelialization period, were evident. During the 18-month follow-up period, there was no evidence of bleeding, infection, adverse effects, recurrence, or permanent depigmentation. The histomorphometric analysis demonstrated rejuvenation of the treated scars (i.e., parallelization) and a more organized architecture of the collagen fibers compared with the pretreated scars. This study demonstrated the increased efficacy of this method as a result of increased freezing area of deep scar material compared with that obtained with contact/spray probes. As a result, fewer treatment cycles are needed. Because the reepithelialization period is short, treatment intervals, if any, can be shortened to 2 to 3 weeks. This intralesional cryoneedle method is simple to operate and safe to use, it necessitates less postoperative care of the wound, and it can easily be added to any preexisting cryosurgical unit.

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