Usefulness of direct W-plasty application to wound debridement for minimizing scar formation in the ED

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A suture line placed with the same direction as the relaxed skin tension line leads to good healing, but a suture line with over 30 degrees of angle from the relaxed skin tension line leads to longer healing time and more prominent scarring. W-plasty is widely used to change the direction of the scar or to divide it into several split scars. In this study, we applied W-plasty to patients with facial lacerations in the emergency department.


From June 2012 to December 2014, 35 patients underwent simple repair or W-plasty for facial lacerations. Patients in the simple repair group underwent resection following a thermal margin, and the W-plasty group was resected within a pre-designed margin of W-shaped laceration. We assessed prognosis using the Stony Brook Scar Evaluation Scale (SBSES) after 10 days (short-term) and six months (long-term), respectively, following suture removal.


Among 35 patients, 15 (42.9%) underwent simple debridement and 20 (57.1%) underwent W-plasty. In the W-plasty group, there was no difference between short-term and long-term follow-up showing high SBSES, but in the simple debridement group, long-term follow-up SBSES significantly decreased. W-plasty SBSES was higher than simple debridement at short-term as well as long-term follow-up.


We experienced good results of direct W-plasty application at six-month long-term follow-up. Therefore, W-plasty application is more effective in reducing scar appearance than a simple debridement method for facial laceration patients with an angle of 30 degrees or more to the relaxed skin tension line.

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