Scar Tissue after Surgery

People often wonder what their scar is going to look like after surgery. Surgeons can give a general idea of the size, color and appearance of the scar but each person heals differently. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), scar tissue is usually thicker than the surrounding skin as well as pink or red in color. However, the appearance of a scar largely depends on the size and depth of the wound. Also, the age of the patient, location of the wound and the time it takes for the wound to heal are all aspects which can influence the look of the scar.

Understanding Scar Tissue

After Surgery ScarsAfter surgery, the body uses its ability to create scar tissue to heal the new wound. However, excess scar tissue beneath the skin can be troubling even after the wound has healed. The tough, fibrous tissue can cause pain and significantly reduce function or range of motion. This decrease in function may transpire due to the direction of the incision and/or the depth of the wound.

For example, bend and straighten the elbow. The folds that form in the skin are known as Langer’s lines. These lines characterize the direction and orientation of the collagen fibers. While making an incision parallel with the Langer lines can happen in some cases, it is not always possible. This is because most surgeries involve cutting into multiple layers of the anatomy. Each layer that is severed must be repaired. As the collagen fibers begin to rebuild, they tend to be erratic and can cause a tightening which can impede some functions. Likewise, surgery on the knees, wrists, shoulder or ankles is often meant to improve movement and function but scar tissue that forms around the joints can create the opposite effect. Frozen shoulder, a condition some patients experience after surgery, is a buildup of scar tissue around the shoulder joints that can cause irritation and inflammation. This can lead to post-surgical pain and impair the range of motion.

Abdominal and Pelvic Adhesions

Abdominal incisions, such as when a person has their appendix removed, can cause abdominal adhesions. Adhesions are bands of tissue which form between the abdominal tissues and the organs. These bands often cause the usual slippery internal tissues and organs to stick together. This can lead to a twisting and pulling of the small or large intestines which create bowel obstruction and chronic pain. Likewise, pelvic adhesions can form after gynecological surgery and cause pain and infertility in some cases. Using certain surgical techniques, such as creating adhesion barriers, can help reduce these pelvic adhesions. Therefore, patients are encouraged to ask their surgeon how they plan to minimize the risk of adhesions.

Scar Prevention and Treatment

Prior to any surgery, patients should ask how much scarring is expected and what type of preventative treatment is recommended. Anytime the patient is undergoing a procedure that involves surgically manipulating a joint area, the surgeon will recommend moving the joints immediately after surgery. This improves function and also helps to prevent excess scar tissue from forming. Patients are always advised to follow post-surgical recommendations and perform targeted exercises to help stretch the skin and guide joints back into the proper position. Massage therapy and ultrasound therapy may also be used to help soften scars and maintain motion after surgery. Although these scar prevention treatments can help to eliminate an accumulation of scar tissue in many patients, some people still develop debilitating scar tissue. Nevertheless, there are numerous scar treatment options which can improve or lessen the appearance of scars and help patients regain motion.

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Natural Ways to Get Rid Of Scar Tissue

Scar Tissue RemediesScar tissue is a beauty concern for many people. When the natural skin has been damaged beyond its first layer, scar tissue is the tissue which replaces it. Scar tissue is the same tissue as healthy skin even though it looks different. This is because the fibers are arranged differently within the tissue.

Scars can form for a variety of reasons including cuts, scrapes, acne, minor burns, bites, surgery or fungal infections. Anyone is prone to getting a scar at one time or another. The important thing to remember is that scars will eventually fade. The extent to which they fade depends on genetics.

However, there are some natural ways to get rid of, or lighten, scar tissue. Do you know what to use and how to use it?

Coconut Oil

Contains fatty acids that act as an antioxidant. This oil can prevent and reverse radical damage. It can also stimulate collagen production while softening the skin to speed the healing process.
• Warm 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin coconut oil in the microwave.
• Gently massage the warm oil in a circular motion on the affected area until it is absorbed into the skin.
• Repeat several times on a daily basis until the desired results are achieved.

Aloe Vera

Well known for regenerating skin tissue. It can also help to reduce the size and appearance of scars.
• Peel the outer green leaf off the plant.
• Apply the gel-looking substance, from the plant, and massage for several minutes.
• Leave it to dry on the skin and then rinse with warm water.
• Apply several times a day for 1 to 2 months.

Vitamin E

Has extraordinary antioxidant properties and can also stimulate collagen as well as moisturize the skin while healing scars.
• Extract the liquid from a Vitamin E capsule or use Vitamin E cream.
• Gently massage in a circular motion for about 10 minutes or until completely absorbed.
• Repeat 2-3 times a day.
• Also, incorporate foods high in Vitamin E into your diet. Foods such as hazelnuts, safflower oil, almonds and peanut butter are all high in Vitamin E.

Lemon Juice

Works as a natural bleaching agent due to its alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and can fade scars. AHA is known to remove dead skin cells while regenerating and repairing damaged skin. Note: When using this technique, be sure to use sunscreen on the treated area whenever going out into the sun. Lemon juice will make that area sensitive to light.
• Extract fresh lemon juice from a lemon and apply it to the scar.
• Allow the juice to dry on the skin for approximately 10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
• Apply some moisturizer.
• Repeat twice daily for several weeks

Apple Cider Vinegar

Has various exceptional properties including being an astringent and a natural disinfectant. It can exfoliate the skin and also remove dead skin cells.
• Dip a cotton ball into the apple cider vinegar and apply it to the scar.
• Leave it on the scar for 10-15 minutes before washing it off.
• Apply moisturizer.
• Repeat this process a few times a day for a few weeks.

Lavender Oil

Can rejuvenate the skin cells. lavender oil helps to increase the cell turnover rate which will prevent the scars from becoming permanent.
• Apply a few drops of lavender essential oil to the scar.
• Gently massage the scar in a circular motion for approximately 10-15 minutes.
• You can also mix equal parts of the lavender oil and olive oil and then apply this mixture to the scar and massage for a few minutes.
• Repeat either method twice daily for several weeks.

-SP/MA

The Nature of Scars

Scars are the result of our natural biological process of wound healing. This repairing takes place in the skin and in other body tissues. The external scars of the skin most often comes to mind even though injured internal parts of the body can heal with scar tissue. Often a doctor can diagnose a condition based on some internal scarring of an organ such as the liver, lungs or kidneys.

Regenrative Animals do not scar

What Are Scars?

Scars are areas of fibrous tissue (fibrosis) that replaces normal skin or organ tissue after injury. This is why it is said that scarring is a normal part of the healing process. Every wound (e.g. after accident, disease, or surgery) has some degree of scarring. There are some exceptions to this in the animal world. These animals undergo regeneration, which do not form scars and the tissue will grow back exactly as before. Some examples are:

Lizards who lose all or part of their tails can grow new ones. Most
lizards can regrow a tail within nine months.

Planarians are flat worms. If cut into pieces, each piece can grow
into a new worm.

Sea cucumbers have bodies that can grow to be three feet long. If
cut into pieces, each one can become a new sea cucumber.

Sharks continually replace lost teeth. They can grow as many as
24,000 teeth in a lifetime.

Spiders can regrow missing legs or parts of legs.

Sponges can be divided. In that case, the cells of the sponge will
regrow and combine exactly as before.

Starfish that lose arms can grow new ones; sometimes an entire
animal can grow from a single lost arm.

As mammals, humans just aren’t that fortunate. Scars are part of our existence for better or worse.

Variant Formation of Scars

• Scar tissue is the same protein (collagen) as the tissue that it
replaces, but the fiber composition of the protein is different;
instead of a random basket weave formation of the collagen fibers
found in normal tissue
• Scar tissue is fibrosis and the collagen cross-links forms a
pronounced alignment in a single direction.

Scar Tissue has inferior functionality

• Scars in the skin are less resistant to ultraviolet radiation
• Sweat glands and hair follicles do not grow back within scar tissue
• A heart attack causes scar formation in the heart muscle, which
leads to loss of muscular power and possibly heart failure.
• Bones can be an exception they can heal without any structural or
functional deterioration.