Article Review: Use of Paper Tape for Scars

Use of Paper Tape for Scars (What is scar tape?)

O’Reilly, S, Crofton, E., Brown, J., Strong, J., & Ziviani, J. (2021).  Use of tape for the 

management of hypertrophic scar development: A comprehensive review. Scars, Burns & 

Healing, 7, 1–17 DOI: 10.1177/20595131211029206

paper tape for scars

The Skinny

The authors looked to do a review of the current literature published on the use of paper tape for scars management.   The theory for the utilization of tape is to reduce mechanical forces that cause excessive scarring.  While the physiological rationale for paper taping and scar management is not fully understood, it is a low-cost, simple intervention for scar management.  

In the Weeds 

Databases were searched using key terms.  After reviewing several studies, nine studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis.  Within a total of 9 studies,  a total of 402 participants with 425 scars were evaluated.  

The articles were appraised utilizing the modified Downs and Black checklist and the modified Critical Appraisal Skill Program depending upon the study type.  

Studies were included if the tape was utilized to prevent scarring after surgical procedures that used linear incisions (scar healing tape).  

paper tape for scars

Bringing it home 

The review concluded that paper tape is an effective intervention in reducing scarring and should be used early in the intervention process if possible and during the wound remodeling phase (paper tape scar treatment). Subjectively, the paper tape also showed the be effective in the mature scar as well. 

The tapes with no stretch, such as  Micropore™ and/or Steri Strips™, mainly were used to assist with linear closer also was proven to be helpful with reducing skin tension and appear to have a positive effect on scar management.  

Rating (4/5)

This review was nicely done and showed nine different studies with a high number of participants.  Of course, the homogeneity across studies in the review is always difficult to assess.  The authors did an excellent job of reviewing and grouping the articles.  Another potential downside is some of the outcomes studied were subjective reports by the patient. 

The outcome measures for scar measurement are somewhat limited.  

The studies reviewed were from several different, but only the ones done in  English were utilized, limiting other studies that might have been done in other languages.  

The article is available for open access, so if you are interested in more specifics, is it easily accessible.  


  1. Rosenda on October 18, 2021 at 6:34 am

    This seems great. I would love to include it in my practice. I would very much like this article.

    • Miranda Materi on November 12, 2021 at 12:22 am

      If you type in the citation on your search engine the article will come up

Leave a Comment

More To Read

Which orthosis design is better for zone 5-6 extensor tendon injuries, a relative motion orthosis compared to a dynamic extension orthosis?

June 18, 2023

M. Buhler, ˝ D. Gwynne-Jones, M. Chin et al., (2023) Are the outcomes of relative motion extension orthoses noninferior and cost-effective compared with dynamic extension orthoses for management of zones V-VI finger extensor tendon repairs: A  randomizedcontrolledtrialJournalofHandTherapy.  The Skinny:  The aim of this study was to compare the data for two different types of orthoses…

Read More

Carpal Fractures: A Brief Overview

July 18, 2021

Carpal fractures account for 8% of fractures in the upper extremity.  The carpals are situated between the (distal radius and ulna) and the metacarpals. They make up the proximal row- Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetrum,  and Pisiform, the distal row- Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate, and Hamate.   Here are some of the most common carpal bone fracture Scaphoid…

Read More

Article Review: Relative Motion for Extensor Tendon Repair zone V-VI? Is a night-time resting hand orthosis beneficial?

July 11, 2021

Hirth, M. J., Hunt, I.,  Briody, K.,  Milner, Z., Sleep, K., Chu, A., Donovan, E. &  O’Brien, L. (2021). Comparison of two relative motion extension orthotic programs following surgical repair of finger extensor tendons in zones V-VI: A randomized equivalence trial. Journal of Hand Therapy-to be published. The Skinny:  Following a zone V-VI tendon repair,…

Read More

Sign-up to Get Updates Straight to Your Inbox!

Sign up with us and we will send you regular blog posts on everything hand therapy, notices every time we upload new videos and tutorials, along with handout, protocols, and other useful information.