Upper lip scars are at risk of hypertrophy. Our center therefore uses microporous tape and silicone sheeting for postoperative scar care following cleft lip repair. However, some babies have previously ingested their silicone sheeting, which has the potential for respiratory compromise or gastrointestinal obstruction. Self-dry silicone gel is reportedly also effective for preventing hypertrophic scars. Hence, we sought to test whether silicone gel, which cannot be ingested whole, might be non-inferior to silicone sheeting for controlling against upper lip scar hypertrophy. This was a mixed prospective and retrospective case-controlled clinical trial involving patients undergoing unilateral cleft lip repair, 29 of whom received standard postoperative silicone sheeting (control group) and another 33 age-matched consecutive patients who received self-dry silicone instead. The Vancouver scar scale, visual analogue scale and photographically assessed scar width assessments were the same in both groups at six months after surgery. In conclusion, silicone gel appears to be non-inferior to silicone sheeting for postoperative care of upper lip scars as judged by scar quality at six months, but silicone sheeting has the safety disadvantage that it can be swallowed whole by babies. It is thus recommended that silicone gel be used for upper lip scar management in babies.
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