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November 20, 2013

Z-plasty and Burns

When the skin is burned, contracture scars may form, these contracture scars will affect the range of motion in the affected area and one of the methods used for scar treatment is Z-plasty.

Z-plasty is a surgical procedure used to improve the functional and/or cosmetic appearance of the scars.

Cosmetic Z-plasty is the repositioning the scar so that it more closely conforms to the natural lines and creases of the skin, where it will be less noticeable.

Functional Z-plasty is the lengthening of the scar to relieve the tension caused by that scar. This procedure can be used as one of the treatment methods for burn contracture scars.

Z-plasty procedure is done by making a Z shape incision in a way that the part of the scar that needs lengthening or re-aligning is running with the central limb of the Z shape. The flaps of skin formed by the other line of the Z are rotated and sewn into a new position.

Z-plasty may be used in other conditions such as closing cutaneous defects, correcting stenosis such as external auditory canal stenosis and other conditions.

Complications of Z-Plasty may include wound infection, necrosis (death) of the flap, formation of haematoma under the flap and others.

Several factors may affect the success of Z-plasty procedure one of which is the medical history of the patient. Patients with risk factors that affect the blood supply to the skin like diabetes, or other medical problems relating to the skin may preclude Z-plasty as an option.

Scars left after Z-plasty procedure may take a long time to reach their final appearance. You have to keep in mind that when Z-plasty is used for cosmetic reasons, it will not make the scar go away but it will make it less obvious.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.