After elective surgery, 28 patients with 40 wounds were enrolled in a controlled clinical study to assess the effects of two different dressings on incisional healing. Patients served as their own control with one-half of each incision covered with an impregnated gauze (Xeroform) and the other half of the incision covered with a thin occlusive hydrocolloid dressing (DuoDerm Extra Thin CGF). All wounds were evaluated 2 to 3 days, 7 to 10 days, 4 weeks, and 7 months postoperatively. None of the incisions segments showed any evidence of infection. At the time of suture removal, the hydrocolloid dressing's ability to contain exudate, protect the wound, and facilitate mobility and personal hygiene were rated higher compared with the gauze-type dressing (p < 0.001, for all variables). At the 4-week visit, both the patient and the surgeon rated the scar segments covered with the hydrocolloid dressing better with respect to color, evenness, and suppleness (p ≤ 0.04, for all variables). These differences were no longer apparent 7 months after surgery.