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Learning About Scar Contractures and How to Treat Them

Posted May 2019 by Biodermis
A scar contracture occurs when the skin pulls tightly together during the final stage of wound healing when a scar begins to form. Scarring is part of a normal wound-healing response that follows an intricate biological process with several distinct stages. Small cuts or incisions may only lead to minimal scarring that fades over time. However, some people aren’t so fortunate. Genetics, skin type, and environmental factors all play a role in how well a wound heals. In some cases, a person may be predisposed to keloids and hypertrophic scars. In cases where a person is severely burned or undergoes a dramatic surgery, a scar contracture is likely to follow.

In this article, we will take a closer look at scar contractures and learn what we can do to prevent their occurrence or reduce their tightness.

Scar contracture

Scar contractures and abnormal scar types

Scar contractures are often associated with abnormal scar types because they deviate from the common scars that only pose cosmetic concerns for the patient. Scar contractures tend to occur as a result of a major surgery, wound, or burn. They can become either flat or raised, depending on the source of the wound and the person’s skin type. The skin tissue of contracture may appear warped or constricted because the skin has pulled itself together tightly. Because the tissue of a scar contracture is tighter than healthy skin, it can cause discomfort and pain for the patient. In extreme cases, scar contractures can restrict a person’s range of motion depending on where the scar is located. If the wound that caused the contracture was deep enough, internal organs may become burdened by the tightening of the skin.

Scar contractures are a common characteristic of abnormal scar types like keloids and hypertrophic scar formations. Hypertrophic scars tend to form within the boundaries of the initial wound and are usually raised and discolored. It is not uncommon to see hypertrophic scars that are red or purple in complexion. Keloids, on the other hand, tend to be more severe than hypertrophic scars. Keloids grow beyond the initial borders of the scar, overlapping and affecting the surrounding healthy skin. These scar types appear as lumpy growths on the skin that may cause tightness and pain for the patient. For some unknown genetic reasons, keloids tend to affect darker-skinned people more often. Keloids and hypertrophic scars may also be accompanied by scar contracture, making these scar types feel tight and itchy.

silicone for scars


Clinically-proven ways to reduce contractures and abnormal scar types
All scars are the result of the same wound-healing process, thus they can be treated in similar ways. Many times, contractures associated with abnormal scar types are marked by an exasperated healing response, which can be mitigated by observing proper wound care. Proper wound care starts by cleaning, covering, and keeping your wound moist. A moist environment supports the healing process by allowing for the easy migration of new epidermal cells that repair the open wound. By covering your wound, you will protect it from harmful environmental factors like germs and UV rays from the sun.

hile proper wound care is important, there is no guarantee that it will prevent you from attaining an abnormal scar with contracture. In these cases, extra measures may be needed to reduce the appearance and lessen the physical burden of your scar. This is where medical-grade silicone gel comes to the rescue. Medical-grade silicone is the only clinically-proven topical scar treatment that has been used by medical professionals for over 30 years. Silicone gel in the form of sheeting and sticks reinforce a healthy wound-healing response by optimizing the amount of moisture and oxygen present at the scar site. This ideal moisture and oxygen-rich environment, known as homeostasis, helps to flatten and reduce the discoloration of the scar bed, helping it blend in with the surrounding tissue. This extra moisture also has the added benefit of softening your scar so it doesn’t feel as tight or itchy.


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.
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