Surgical needling for management of hypertrophic scars following burns injuries at Queensland Children’s Hospital

Dr Holly Campbell1,2,3, Dr Victoria Tan4, Kristen Storey1,2,3, Professor Roy Kimble1,2,3

1Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, 2Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, Brisbane, Australia, 3University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 4Bundaberg Hospital, Bundaberg, Australia


The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of surgical needling in reducing hypertrophic scars in children who have sustained burns injuries. Hypertrophic scarring following a burns injury is common and there is currently very little evidence demonstrating effectiveness of surgical interventions, especially in a Paediatric population.

This project hopes to demonstrate that surgical needling significantly reduces hypertrophic scar thickness in Paediatric burns patients and will act as a pilot study for our upcoming RCT comparing traditional scar management techniques (silicon) to both surgical needling and to CO2 fractional laser therapy.

A retrospective chart review of all patients who had surgical needling for scar management through the Department of Paediatric Surgery at Queensland Children’s Hospital from July 2017 – March 2019 was conducted.  The review identified 41 patients who had 96 surgical needling procedures in total. All needling procedures were performed under general anaesthetic and a patient protocol was followed that included use of a standard surgical needling device, no use of antibiotics and dressing with Sorbact gel for one night following the procedure before normal silicon applications were resumed. Ultrasounds were performed on the day of surgical needling as well as two months following the surgical needling and scar thickness measurements were compared for each site. The results revealed a mean hypertrophic scar thickness of 46mm pre-needling (range 20-115mm) and 38mm post-needling (11-87mm). These results represent a mean decrease in scar thickness of 17.4% two months following a surgical needling procedure.


Holly is a Senior House Officer at Queensland Children’s Hospital working in Paediatric Surgery, Urology and Burns.

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