The role of balneology in plastic surgery

Place du thermalisme en chirurgie plastique
Authors: Correia N (1) , Binet A (2) , Caliot J (1) , Poli Merol ML (2) , Bodin F (3) , François-Fiquet C (1,2,4)
(1) Structure interne de chirurgie plastique, reconstructrice et esthétique, pôle locomoteur, hôpital Maison-Blanche, CHU de Reims (2) Structure interne de chirurgie pédiatrique, pôle mère enfant, American Memorial Hospital, CHU de Reims (3) Service de chirurgie plastique et reconstructrice, hôpital civil, 1, place de l'Hôpital (4) EA 3801, université de Reims-Champagne-Ardenne, SFR CAP santé Reims-Amiens
Source: Ann Chir Plast Esthet. 2016 Feb;61(1):16-22
DOI: 10.1016/j.anplas.2015.03.008 Publication date: 2016 Feb E-Publication date: April 25, 2015 Availability: abstract Copyright: © 2015 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
Language: French Countries: Not specified Location: Not specified Correspondence address: François-Fiquet C :
Structure interne de chirurgie pédiatrique, pôle mère enfant, American Memorial Hospital, CHU de Reims, 47, rue Cognacq-Jay, 51092 Reims, France
EA 3801, université de Reims–Champagne-Ardenne, SFR CAP santé Reims-Amiens, 51100 Reims, France
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Article abstract

Balneology can be part of the plastic surgery care sector. The objectives of this study were firstly to the state of knowledge about the hydrotherapy and specify the place reserved for hydrotherapy by surgeons as an adjunct in plastic and reconstructive surgery (adult and child).


Multicentric national study by poll (Google Drive(®)) focused at plastic and/or pediatric surgeons. The following information was analyzed: frequency, timing of prescription, indications, the surgeon's feelings towards hydrotherapy and the differences between adult's and children's prescriptions.


Fifty-four teams were contacted: 22 responses were received (15 "adult" plastic surgeons, 9 "pediatric" plastic surgeons, 6 pediatric surgeons, with 12 out of 22 working with burnt patients). Eighteen out of 22 prescribed hydrotherapy. Twenty out of 22 thought that hydrotherapy had a role as adjuvant therapy in plastic surgery. The indications were: burns (11/20), skin-graft hypertrophy (10/20), inflammatory and pruritic scar and cutaneous trophic disorders (9/20), psychological (3/20), retractions (2/20), weight loss and smoking (1/20). The timing of the prescription was: < 3 months (2/20), < 6 months (7/20), > 6 months and < 1 year (15/20), > 1 year (8/20) after surgery/trauma. Twenty out of 22 found a beneficial effect: physical (19/20): reduction of inflammatory signs, pruritus and pain, scar maturation, skin thinning improvement; psychological (14/20): positive for patient/family. Five out of 17 made the difference between child/adult, 10/17 made no difference but only treated adults or children.


The respondents in the study are probably more sensitive to the effects of hydrotherapy that non-respondents. It is difficult to assess the real impact of hydrotherapy in plastic surgery because distinguishing spontaneous favorable evolution of a scar from one only due to the hydrotherapy or multidisciplinary management is difficult. However, hydrotherapy seems to have its role among multidisciplinary management.

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