To continue with wound care month, this week we wanted to talk about scarring. Scar formation can occur with any wound and scar management will be an important part of recovery.
How Scar Formation Occurs
When you sustain an injury or have surgery, your body sends fluid to the injury in the blood. This fluid contains importance cells in fighting any bacteria that enter the skin during your injury. This fluid also contains the cells responsible for building scar tissue. While we need scar tissue in order to heal the injury, too much scar tissue can limit skin extensibility (how flexible the skin is and how much it moves) which will limit how your body moves. Scar tissue can also adhere to the tendons and other moving structures below your skin, which can also limit your range of motion.
Importance of Scar Management
Once the wound is healed completely, you will want to massage the scar with lotion, preferably a lotion with vitamin E. Scar massage helps control scar formation, as scar tissue forms sporadically and can be disorganized. Using moderate pressure will help mold the scar and prevent extra scarring (such as keloid or hypertrophic scars). For more information on keloid and hypertrophic scars, click here.
Another aspect of scar tissue management is compression. Your therapist may recommend a compression garment to add pressure to the scar and prevent hypertrophic scarring. Your therapist may recommend a silicone gel sheet or elastomer mold–both of which are helpful to soften scar tissue.
Three Quick Tips to Minimize Scar Formation
- Massage: Use moderate pressure
- Compression: Using a compression garment or bandage will help apply constant pressure
- Moisture: Keep the area of the scar moist, but not wet. This will help soften the scar tissue.
Did you recently sustain an injury that left you with scarring? Are you concerned your post-surgical incision is going to leave a scar? Please contact LB Hand Therapy today. We would love to help you with your scar management.