The formation of scars is one the most annoying skin problems a person can have. Scars form after an injury, infection or a wound heals. Scars are made up of fibrous scar tissues that can grow excessively, resulting to large and raised scars. Scar tissues can grow on any injured part of the body as part of the healing process, but sometimes their growth can lead to health problems, pain, and limited function.
Many people try using over the counter scar removal products; however, they don’t work as well on older or more prominent scars. When this happens, the only way to restore normal function and health is to undergo scar tissue removal.
Scar Tissue: What You Need to Know About Your Skin
Scar tissue is the connective tissue that becomes dense and tough to form a covering over a healed wound or injury. Connective tissue is one of the tissues with several functions but, in general, its primary function is to connect and provide support to different tissues and organs in the body.
There are two classifications of connective tissues, namely connective tissue proper and specialized connective tissue:
- Connective Tissue Proper: Includes adipose or fat tissue, areolar or loose tissue and dense regular tissue. An example of connective tissue proper is the areolar tissue that attaches the skin and muscles. It is made up of a loose arrangement of elastic fiber, collagenous fiber, and fibroblasts.
- Specialized Connective Tissue: Made of densely crowded collagen fiber and fibroblast arranged in parallel, examples of specialized connective tissue are the tissues in your ligaments that connect the bones to your joints. It is also in thetendons that connect the muscles to your bones.
Scar tissue may form when connective tissue suffers from damage due to an injury, infection, cut, chronic inflammation or surgery. Everyone will develop scar tissue at one point, because it is your body’s normal reaction even to slight injuries.
For example, constant typing over a long period can cause trauma or overuse of soft tissues in your hands and arms. Scar tissue may form and create pressure on the nerves,which may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Straining your muscles during exercise can also lead to the formation of scar tissue, which can cause pain when stretched during movements.
It can develop anywhere in your body. Unlike the external scars with scabs that fall off once they heal, internal scar tissues can continue to grow until they begin to create pressure on your blood vessels, nerves and organs. They can also lead to physical dysfunction, such as a limited range of movement or pain during movement, especially if they overdevelop in your muscles and joints.
In short, scar tissues are quick fix to injuries, but they can become a significant problem in the long run. When scar tissues begin to create heath complications and disability, removing them is your best option to restore your health and normal function.
Internal Scar Tissue Removal: Relief at Last
Internal scar tissues can make the simplest daily functions, such as walking, standing and running painful and difficult. It can also cause scar tissue pain and health issues when their growth overwhelms surrounding organs.
Your option for removing scar tissue depends on where the scar tissue is. If the scar tissue is not deep inside your body, different physical manipulation approaches may help remove it. If scar the scar tissue develops in the abdominal area, surgery might be your ultimate option.
Here are some of the stubborn scar tissue removal processes:
Scar Tissue Removal After Knee Surgery: Preventative Steps You Can Take
Your knees play vital roles in your everyday functions. Almost every movement you do every day requires knee movements, such as walking, standing, sitting, bending, running,and a whole lot more. Because of your knee’s fundamental roles, they are also prone to injuries of many kinds that may even require surgery to repair.
With surgery, there is a huge possibility of developing scar tissues in your knees that may cause problems in the future. Having the scar tissue removed is necessary for your knees to function properly. Through various methods such as massage and physical therapy, you can break down the scar tissue and prevent it from growing thicker.
During the first 72 hours after the surgery, avoid long range movements on the knees and the surrounding surgical area because stretching can cause further damage to the joint and neighboring tissues.
Once the incision heals and you have fully recovered from the surgery, start applying deep pressure through sports massage on the troubled area. Applying constant intense pressure will help break down the scar tissue. Keep massaging until the scar tissue disappears.
During your recovery period, make sure you drink plenty of water, because staying hydrated is important in the process of eliminating excess scar tissues.
Another option to remove scar tissue after knee surgery is cold laser therapy. It is one of the latest innovations in laser technology that uses soft laser light to reach damaged cells and repair them. Cold laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment with fewer risks of complications.
To restore your knee’s mobility and range of motion, perform physical exercises with the help of a physical therapist. Stagnating or immobilizing your knee joints can contribute to the growth of scar tissue.
Knee scar tissue removal does not often require another surgery.
Abdominal Scar Tissue Removal: Avoiding Complications
Abdominal adhesions are fibrous scars that usually develop after surgery in the abdominal area. Adhesions can cause organs to attach to one another or create pressure on other organs.
During abdominal surgery, doctors need to shift the organs from their normal position, and this could stimulate the formation of scar tissue. It can form over the incisions made on your organs, and can also develop due to peritonitis, the inflammation of the abdominal lining, and endometriosis, the inflammation of the uterine lining.
In most cases, patients who develop abdominal adhesions do not experience problems; however, some may experience partial or total blockage in their colon or bowels due to adhesions. In rare cases, part of the bowel may twist on the band of scar tissues and cause bowel strangulation, which is an emergency medical situation. Bowel strangulation can stop blood flow to the affected section of the colon and may cause it to die.
Abdominal adhesion is extremely rare in people who did not undergo surgery, but more common in people who underwent multiple surgeries. Bowel obstruction due to adhesions may suffer from the following symptoms:
- Moderate to severe crampy abdominal pain
- Abdominal distension
- Inability to pass gas
- Absence of bowel movements
- Infrequent bowel movements
You can also suffer from dehydration, which is a serious health issue. Signs of dehydration include:
- Dry skin
- Dry mouth
- Extreme thirst
- Infrequent urination
- Fast heart rate
- Low blood pressure
Fever, rapid heart rate, and low blood pressure may indicate bowel strangulation. If these happen,you need to call 9-1-1 and rush to the hospital immediately.
Sadly, there is no way to prevent abdominal adhesions. Removing the adhesions is your only option to improve blockage. Since abdominal adhesions lie deep in your body, physical manipulation is not an option. Your best treatment option is to undergo another surgery to remove the fibrous scars.
Before performing any surgical procedure, your doctor will perform a series of tests to diagnose bowel obstruction. Tests include a physical examination, X-rays and a CT scan.
For a partial ortotal blockage due to adhesions,your treatment starts with getting primary medical care, such as IV fluids to rehydrate and nasogastric decompression to relieve your bloating and pain. Then, your doctor can perform adhesiolysis, a surgical procedure to remove adhesions by clipping the band of fibrous scar tissues.
Before performing adhesiolysis, your doctor will perform either laparoscopic surgery or open cut surgery to get to the affected area.
Surgery is the most effective option to remove abdominal adhesions, but doctors do not recommend it all the time, because performing another surgery could give way to the formation of new scar tissues.
Reducing the risk of new scar tissue formation requires the use of special techniques and expertise on the side of the surgeon; however, the risk of scar tissue formation will always be there.
Muscle Scar Tissue Removal: Ending the Pain for Good
Have you ever experienced muscle pain that keeps recurring and just won’t go away, even after taking a pain reliever? Have you suffered from an injury that you think has already healed, but still occurs again in the same spot? Your problem could be due to the formation of scar tissue.
Whether you pulled a muscle, strained it, torn it or overstretched it during exercise, sports or performing daily tasks, scar tissue formation is part of the healing process, so there is no way around it.
What you do during the first 72 hours can either reduce or increase the formation of scar tissue. If fact, whatever happens in the initial six-day period will help determine the recovery time of your injury and the extent of the formation of scar tissue.
After the injury, you should implement the RICER method, as first aid, which stands for rest, ice, compression, elevation and referral, respectively. One study suggests that performing the RICER. method in the first 72 hours can significantly shorten rehabilitation period,while failing to perform the first aid at this time increased the risk of bleeding and inflammation of the injured soft tissue.
During this time, you should avoid any activities that can pull or stretch the injured area to prevent further damage. As much as possible, take a rest and avoid unnecessary movements that can put stress on your injured muscle tissue.
Upon performing the RICER method, scar tissue can still form. Leaving scar tissues untreated is the main cause of recurring injuries, even if you think you have fully recovered from the previous one. This is because scar tissues can envelop on the damaged tissues forming a bulky and inflexible mass of dense and fibrous tissue.
When a scar tissue forms over a soft tissue, the affected soft tissue loses its flexibility, and the scar tissue can also deform the surrounding tissues. When the soft tissue becomes inflexible, it can lose its strength and power over time. It is a weak spot that is prone to reinjuring and stretching it can become painful.
To remove the scar tissue, you have to massage the affected area or let someone else do it for you. The advantage of massaging it yourself is that you know how much pressure you should apply and how deep you can go.
To perform self-massage, start with gentle strokes, then go firmer and deeper as you go on. Move into the direction of the scar tissue pushing harder and deeper with the use of your thumb. Perform this daily for a few minutes and make sure to keep yourself hydrated.
For more massaging techniques, check this article.
External Scar Tissue Removal Needs Special Attention
Scar tissue can develop on the exterior surface of your skin, as well. Except for minor cuts and scratches, external scar tissue normally forms over damaged tissues due to surgery, deep wounds, and infections as a protective barrier. Once the wound or incision heals, the scar tissue will remain as a scar.
External scar tissues normally have the following characteristics:
Pale in color due to limited blood supply.
- Thicker than the surrounding skin tissues.
- Hair does not grow back in the area.
- Prone to sunburn or sun damage.
External scar tissue can be flat, but scar tissue can continue to grow until the resulting scar becomes raised and extra thick with a rubbery texture, also known as keloids.
Massage therapy can help to prevent the overgrowth of external scar tissues. Consistently massaging the area can help increase blood circulation and can flatten the scar tissue. Wait until the wound completely heals and closes before starting the massage therapy.
Other options for removing external scar tissue include:
- Scar tissue removal surgery: Having an operation to remove scars is not always advisable, because there is a high risk of forming new scar tissue after surgery; however, some doctors are successful removing the unsightly scars by applying compression dressings and injecting steroid medications on the site for up to months after surgery. An example of compression dressing is silicone sheet.
- Laser Treatment: Laser treatment is a less invasive option with less recovery time than surgery. It involves the use of laser light to reach the damage tissues within. Laser lights can stimulate the repair of damaged cells and tissues. It requires several sessions, which can be quite costly.
- Cortisone Injections: Doctors will directly inject cortisone into the keloid once in one or two months. Cortisone injections are less painful and safe, but it can make the scar turn darker in color. The color may improve once the treatment is over.
- Cryotherapy: This procedure involves the injection of liquid nitrogen, with the use of a tiny probe, into the keloid during the immature stage of the scar. This procedure freezes the scar tissues and prevents them from growing.
- Cytotoxic Medicines: These are anti-cancer medication injected on the scar to slow down scar tissue growth. The most common cytotoxic medicine used to treat keloid is 5-fluorouracil. Doctors often use this treatment along with other scar treatments.
- Radiotherapy: Doctors usually recommend this procedure on difficult scars found on the arms and legs because radiotherapy can increase your risk of cancer.
These scar tissue removal procedures do not guarantee 100-percent success. The best thing you can do is to prevent keloid scars and other types of scars from forming. Keloid scars are hereditary, so if one or both your parents have keloids, avoid unnecessary piercings and cuts on your skin.
Scar tissues form as part of the natural healing process, but overtime, they can create problems of their own. Get rid of them with these scar tissue removal processes and tips.