What is a scar and how can scar therapy help?
A scar is an area of fibrous tissue that replaces the original tissue after its integrity has been disrupted by injury or surgery. The new tissue is build with the same protein, collagen, as the original one but the collagen fibres are organised in a different way which makes the scar tissue of poorer quality and less elastic.
Scar therapy is combination of treatment techniques that help stimulate healing and soften fibrosis as the scar matures. With the treatment the scar may become more flexible, softer, less painful or sensitive, you can experience textural changes to suppleness of the scar and the surrounding areas. If you have any scar adhesions, scar therapy can help to loosen these as well .
The research in to the benefit of physical scar management concluded that "Physical scar management demonstrates moderate-to-strong effects on improvement of scar issues as related to signs and symptoms." You can read the study abstract here.
what are Keloid and hypertrophic scars?
Whilst formation of scar tissue is a natural process of healing sometimes this process goes wrong and Keloid or Hypertrophic scar is formed. These scars are little bit more troublesome to treat but with the scar therapy there is a potential for improvement and ease of symptoms.
Keloid scar is a raised lumpy red /pink or brown scar that can develop after even relatively small injury to skin. The keloid scar expands beyond the border of the original would and often keeps growing especially if there under tension. Experts don't know exactly what causes keloids but most agree these scars develop when body overproduces collagen needed for repair of damaged tissue.
Keloids can cause pain, itchiness and discomfort and depending on the location they may restrict movement.
Hypertrophic scar might look a little bit like keloid scar but unlike keloid the hypertrophic scars do not extend beyond the boundary of the original wound. They may continue to thicken for up to 6 months before gradually improving over a few years.
The most common treatment that are offered at present include surgery, radiation, laser, steroid injection, cryotherapy, silicon patches.
Physical scar management offers alternative and addition to above treatments; kinesiotaping, application of silicon sheets and myofascial release of the area surrounding the keloid or hypertrophic scar has brought good results in our experience in relieving the symptoms.
Comprehensive article on the Keloid scars can be found here.
What to expect during your Scar Therapy appointment/session?
- Assessment including history taking and physical examination - we will look at the scar and its surrounding area, assess the texture, sensitivity, mobility and check for any adhesions or fibrosis. We will also assess if and how the scar affects your movement in general, or if it might be contributing to any other symptoms you might experience and which you mightn't have linked to the scar.
- Discussing the expectations and setting achievable goals, discussing the timeline
- Setting up a treatment plan
- Treatment session – here we will use a combination of techniques as required; these might include scar massage, instrument assisted soft tissue work, hydrotherapy, stretches, kinesiotaping
- You will be given instructions on self-care for you to continue at home
- Arranging follow up appointment
- Re-evaluation and re-assessment at every follow up appointment and continuation of treatment as per treatment plan
Infographic about how to look after your scar by Emma Holly, leading scar tissue therapist and educator, founder of