Background Electrobrasion, like dermabrasion, is a method of surgical planing that is purported to improve postoperative scarring. Data regarding its benefits and harms relative to dermabrasion are absent. Objective To compare the efficacy and potential harms of electrobrasion and dermabrasion. Methods This was a pragmatic, randomized, double-blind, split-scar intervention in patients with suboptimal surgical outcomes. Half of the wound was randomized to treatment with dermabrasion and half to electrobrasion. At 3-month follow-up, both the patient and a blinded investigator evaluated the wound. Results Electrobrasion and dermabrasion reduced the mean scores of the Manchester Scar Scale 1·6 and 1·3 points from baseline, respectively (P = 0·0003). The difference between treatments was not significant (P = 0·08). Global cosmetic improvement by physician and patient assessment indicated clinical improvement for both procedures but did not demonstrate statistical significance between treatments (P = 0·57, P = 0·32 for physician and patient, respectively). Conclusions Both dermabrasion and electrobrasion improved scars, but there was no significant difference between the outcomes of the two procedures on several measures. Procedure time and bleeding time were significantly lower for electrobrasion. What's already known about this topic? Electrobrasion has been described as an alternative means of surgical planing, but has not been evaluated in comparison with more traditional techniques. What does this study add? This study present the results of a randomized, controlled, split-scar intervention comparing the techniques of electrobrasion and dermabrasion in the treatment of a variety of suboptimal surgical scars. Electrobrasion is a viable alternative to dermabrasion, as outcomes did not differ significantly post-treatment as evaluated using a standardized scar scale. Procedure time and bleeding time were favorable for electrobrasion.
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