01 Aug Post surgery scar management
My wound has healed but what can I do about my scar?
Post surgery scar management
Scars are part of the body’s natural healing response following a wound created either by an injury or surgical procedure. Sometimes the body can produce an excessive amount of the scar tissue which can result in the scar sticking to some of the other layers of skin and soft tissues depending on the scar’s location. This can affect function as movement of your hand and fingers can be affected. An excessive amount of scar tissue can also result in a scar that is very firm and raised.
Although a wound can take a few weeks to a few months to heal, the scar that develops can take between 3-18 months to continue flattening and becoming smoother. In order to assist this process, there are a few different strategies you can use to help improve the health of your scar.
Scar massage can be completed both by your hand therapist and by yourself. Scar massage involves using a hypoallergenic (non-fragranced) cream/moisturiser on your scar and applying a firm pressure in a circular motion along the full length of your scar.
Applying pressure in this manner helps to flatten and soften your scar which can help with its appearance and loosen up adhesions between your scar and other tissues that may be stuck to it.
Massage should ideally be completed several times per day or as guided by your therapist.
Use of silicon products
Silicon products can be very beneficial in improving the consistency of your scar. Silicon products typically last up to 6-8 weeks with proper care and are placed directly on your scar for a duration of time advised by your therapist (often overnight). The silicon sheet can be secured onto your scar using tape, a compression bandage such as tubigrip or a splint. The layer of silicon helps to provide compression to your scar which helps with the body’s scar remodelling process and can help flatten thick and raised scars.
The main silicon products that we can use includes:
- A flat silicon sheet- which is beneficial for simple scars in relatively flat locations (e.g on your wrist/forearm)
- A custom made silicon piece – which can be moulded for complex scars in locations such as between fingers and in the palm
- A silicon sleeve that can cover the entire finger
Important considerations in post surgery scar management
Use of scar management techniques should only be considered when a wound is fully healed. Use of these techniques on an open wound will delay healing and may lead to other complications with healing such as infection.
To avoid any complications, discuss scar management techniques with your hand therapist who will be able to guide you through the appropriate treatment for your scars.
By Rigel Mascarenhas
If you have any concerns regarding post surgery scar management, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to help you.
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