We don’t normally associate the practice of physical therapy with managing one’s post-surgical scars, but there are a number of instances where therapy is beneficial. The stretches and exercises performed in therapy can help soften scar tissue that has become tight and burdensome over time. Some scars can impinge on one’s range of motion in certain areas, such as near the knees or elbows, so some moderate exercise can help restore mobility. Physical therapy can help realign the collagen fibers that have haphazardly structured themselves after the initial wound, which may help restore strength to the scar tissue. In addition to physical therapy, medical silicone gel can be used to reduce the size and appearance of your scars.
Physical therapy techniques to reduce scars
Every wound follows the same wound healing process marked by four distinct stages: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and maturation. During the maturation stage, also known as remodeling, collagen fibers restructure themselves in a cross-link pattern. This stage can sometimes last for up to two years. Over time, the scar tissue is reduced in thickness due to the restructuring of collagen and the tensile strength of the damaged skin increases. In some cases, however, abnormal scarring can occur. This can be seen with keloids and hypertrophic scars. These scar types develop when there is an overabundance of collagen production during the proliferative stage. When the skin overcompensates by producing too much collagen, a buildup can lead to an overgrowth of scar tissue.
Scar tissue overgrowth can be burdensome by limiting a person’s range of motion and causing pain and itchiness. Some scars from knee replacement surgery, for instance, can range anywhere from 6-10 inches in length. If the scar keloids, it can constrict the skin around the knee and reduce mobility. Physical therapist can use techniques such as massaging, stretching, and taping to encourage the collagen fibers to promote tissue remodeling without tearing or breaking. Some physical therapists will utilize a type of massage referred to as the Graston technique, which implements metal tools to gradually release the adhesions caused by severe scarring. Massages and stretching exercises are standard physical therapy practices, but kinesiology tape is a novel technology that can help flatten scars. Kinesiology tape can be applied to scar tissue to hold the skin in a stretched position. This promotes blood flow and remodeling in the area by creating space between the scar tissue, fascia, and muscle.
Clinically-proven scar management
Medical-grade silicone gel is another option for scar treatment that can be used as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with physical therapy. Topical silicone has been used for over 30 years as a first line of defense for the reduction of keloids and hypertrophic scars. Silicone works through the mechanisms of dermal hydration and collagen regulation. By inducing moisture to the scar site, fibroblasts in the tissue scale back on collagen production, which helps to soften and flatten irritable scars. Medical silicone is hypoallergenic and safe for all skin types. Silicone for scars can be purchased through your physician or online at biodermis.com
Biodermis is an innovative market leader with 30 years of expertise in the medical silicone industry. Visit Biodermis.com today to explore a complete range of scar management and post-operative care solutions.
PHYSICIANS AND MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS: REFER OR RESELL?
Biodermis offers custom tailored referral programs designed to simplify and reduce the cost of your patients' post-op care. Additionally, we offer professional pricing if you opt to retail our products. Give us a call at 800.322.3729, and we will be happy to provide additional details on these programs.