How we can help you

Wound/Scar Treatment

All wounds, whether from surgery or an injury, form a scar. It is the body’s way of healing damaged tissue. When the skin or soft tissue tears, the body produces a protein called collagen. Collagen then builds up where the tissue is damaged, helping to heal and strengthen the wound.

How Does Scarring Happen?

Scarring is a natural part of the body’s healing process following an injury. Tissue repairs itself by growing new tissue and then fills in any leftover gaps with a form of “glue” called “granulation scar tissue.” All scar tissue is primarily made up of a protein called collagen.

The appearance and treatment of scars depend on several factors. Scars develop in all shapes and sizes. Some are large and can be painful, while others are barely visible.

Types of Scars

Scars develop anywhere on the skin. There are several types of scarring, including:

  • Keloids: These types of scars are raised above the skin’s surface and spread beyond the wound. This overgrown scar tissue can get quite large and affect movement. People with darker skin (especially people with African, Asian or Hispanic heritage), as well as those with red hair, are more likely to develop keloid scars.
  • Contracture: Contracture scars often develop after a burn. These kinds of scars cause the skin to contract (tighten) and can make it difficult to move, especially when muscles, nerves or joints are involved.
  • Depressed (atrophic): These are sunken scars that often result from chickenpox or acne. They are small indentations in the skin and look like rounded pits and most often they develop on the face.
  • Flat: Although slightly raised initially, this type of scar evens out as it heals. Flat scars often begin as pink or red in colour but over time they may become either lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.
  • Raised (hypertrophic): Hypertrophic scars – or raised scars – can be felt when you run your fingertips over them. These scars often get smaller over time however they never completely flatten out. Unlike keloid scars, they don’t grow or spread beyond the wounded area.

Scar tissue can also build up inside the body. Referred to as internal scar tissue or adhesions, these types of scars can build up within the body’s joints, muscles, tendons, and soft tissues. Internal scarring can result from overworking your body, injury (such as sprains, strains, and trauma), surgery and other health conditions.

 

Possible Treatments for Scars

There are several ways to help reduce the size of scars and to make them less noticeable. Scar treatment depends on several factors, including:

  • Type, size and location of the scar
  • Whether the scar is causing pain or reducing movement
  • Your age and the age of the scar.

Treatment may include:

  • Therapy – Compression therapy uses pressure garments and compression earrings, silicone gel treatment, soft tissue massage and ultrasound treatment. This treatment is used alongside stretching, specific exercises and occasionally the use of splinting or orthoses to provide stretching to the affected areas.
  • Over the counter or prescription creams and gels – There are products available specially designed as a scar treatment, especially for scars caused by wounds or cuts. It needs to be noted however that often these kinds of treatments can include steroids or certain oral antihistamines for scars that can cause itching, irritation or are very sensitive.
  • Surgical removal or treatment – These treatments include the excision or dermabrasion of a scar or a skin graft. Laser surgery is also an option. In a skin graft, a surgeon takes skin from another area of the body. This is used regularly in burns cases. However, if you have a scar as a result of recent surgery, it is best to wait at least 12 months before considering your options. Scars can become less noticeable, or fade, over time.  

Injections – Steroid injections are available in cases where scars can stick out or protrude, such as in keloids or hypertrophic scars. Your surgeon may use this alongside other treatments.

Melbourne Hand Therapy Can Help You

At Melbourne Hand Therapy we treat scars following injury and surgery with the use of compression therapy (pressure garments, compression earrings), silicone gel treatment, soft tissue massage, ultrasound treatment or splinting to provide prolonged stretching. Our treatment of scars involves a tailored approach with photographic progress and may involve seeking the timely opinion of Plastic Surgeons in conjunction with our treatment.