Investigating the use of Tape for Prevention and Management of Hypertrophic Scar Development Post-Surgical Incision or Traumatic Injury: A Scoping Review

Miss Sarah O’Reilly1,2, Emeritus Professor  Jennifer  Strong1, Doctor Jason Brown1, Mrs Erin Crofton1, Professor Jenny Ziviani2

1Royal Brisbane And Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, 2The Univeristy of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia


Introduction: Hypertrophic scarring is a complication of rapid abnormal wound healing post-surgical incision or traumatic injury. Composed of surplus scar tissue, such scars are defined as raised, erythematous, pruritic lesions that are aesthetically displeasing, and which impact on functional ability and psychosocial state.

The application of tape to reduce the mechanical tension on a contracting scar has been considered as an efficacious means of scar management. Historically, in several clinical areas, such a post-C-section, tapes are used for wound closure and more recently have been posited as assisting in the reduction of hypertrophic scars.

Aims: The aim of this review is to explore scar outcomes including colour, height, and thickness when tape is used, and to investigate the patient experience (including adherence and satisfaction) to taping for scar management.

Methods: A scoping review of the literature was conducted using the following MESH terms; hypertrophic scar, cicatrix, abnormal scar, trauma scar, tape. Twelve articles addressing the use of tape at two time points in scar development were identified, initial wound closure and the remodelling phase of wound healing.  Studies were appraised in terms of quality and findings, then synthesized.

Results: Preliminary findings of this review suggest the reduction of scar tension (over the initial six months post injury), may be effective in preventing the development of linear hypertrophic scarring.

Conclusion: Further exploration of this method of scar management is warranted.


Sarah is an Occupational Therapist working at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Professor Stuart Pegg Adult Burns Centre. Sarah has been working in the field of burn care for 4 years and has completed her graduate Certificate of Burn and Trauma Rehabilitation through the University of Notre Dame, Australia. Sarah is now completing a research master’s degree focussing on minimalistic scar interventions for management of small burns with an aim to enhance patient satisfaction and engagement with therapies.

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