Format of Original
Journal of the American College of Clinical Wound Specialists
Original Item ID
doi: 10.1016/j.jccw.2012.11.001; PubMed Central: PMCID 3921236
A classical wound may be defined as a disruption of tissue integrity. Wounds, caused by trauma from accidents or surgery, that close via secondary intention rely on the biological phases of healing, i.e., hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling (HIPR). Depending on the wound type and severity, the inflammation phase begins immediately after injury and may last for an average of 7–14 days. Concurrent with the inflammation phase or slightly delayed, cell proliferation is stimulated followed by the activation of the remodeling (maturation) phase. The latter phase can last as long as 1 year or more, and the final healed state is represented by a scar tissue, a cross-linked collagen formation that usually aligns collagen fibers in a single direction. One may assume that skin microneedling that involves the use of dozens or as many as 200 needles that limit penetration to 1.5 mm over 1 cm2 of skin would cause trauma and bleeding followed by the classical HIPR. However, this is not the case or at least the HIPR phases are significantly curtailed and healing never ends in a scar formation. Conversely dermabrasion used in aesthetic medicine for improving skin quality is based on “ablation” (destruction or wounding of superficial skin layers), which requires several weeks for healing that involves formation of new skin layers. Such procedures provoke an acute inflammatory response. We believe that a less intense inflammatory response occurs following microneedle perforation of the skin. However, the mechanism of action of microneedling appears to be different. Here we review the potential mechanisms by which microneedling of the skin facilitates skin repair without scarring after the treatment of superficial burns, acne, hyperpigmentation, and the non-advancing periwound skin surrounding the chronic ulcerations of the integument.