Back surgery can be a complex and daunting process, and the recovery stage can present its own set of challenges. Scar tissue formation is a common post-surgery occurrence, since the body produces excess collagen fibers to fill in the incision the surgery has left. While the formation of scar tissue is a necessary part of the healing process, it can interfere with functionality if it becomes particularly hard and thick. In this article, we will go over the measures that one can take to prevent and treat scar tissue formation after back surgery.
How Does Scar Tissue Form After Surgery?
It’s normal for the body to produce extra collagen fibers at the site of an incision to aid healing and form scar tissue. After a full recovery, these extra collagen fibers will become less visible and less problematic. In some cases, however, the scar tissue can become excessively thick which, in turn, can distort the normal anatomy of the back and interfere with functionality.
What Are the Risk Factors for Scar Tissue Formation?
Certain risk factors can lead to more prominent scar tissue formation, such as prior surgery on the back, certain types of spinal surgery (such as fusion), the size of the incision, age, smoking and obesity.
How Can You Prevent Scar Tissue Formation?
While scar tissue formation is an inevitable part of recovery, there are several steps that one can take to minimise the formation of scar tissue.
It is important to keep an informed dialogue between the patient and their medical team throughout the entire process. Through patient education, the medical team can make sure the patient understands the importance of following the post-surgery instructions – such as taking medications and avoiding certain activities – to prevent scar tissue from forming.
Physical therapy is one of the most effective methods for preventing and treating excessive scar tissue. Physical therapy can help ensure that the body does not become stiff, which can happen when scar tissue is left untreated.
Manual massage has been proven to assist in breaking up tight, stretched collagen fibers. A physical therapist can help with this process by performing massage therapy or instructing the patient on how to perform self-massage.
Ultrasound therapy is used to send sound waves into the tissue in order to break up adhesions and encourage healthy circulation in the area. Ultrasound therapy can help ensure that scar tissue does not become hardened, which can prevent further injury to the patient.
What Are the Treatment Options for Scar Tissue?
While the prevention of scar tissue is ideal, there are also effective treatments available for those who do develop excessive scar tissue.
Corticosteroid injections are often used to reduce inflammation and treat scar tissue. These injections can be especially helpful in cases of large and hard scar tissue.
Scar Therapy Creams
Scar therapy creams help reduce the visibility of scars and may also help reduce the excess collagen buildup that is caused by scar tissue.
Laser therapy can help break down scar tissue and increase circulation in the affected area. The laser can also stimulate the production of new collagen, which can help reduce the visibility and thickness of the scar.
People Also Ask
What happens if scar tissue is left untreated?
If scar tissue is left untreated, it can cause pain and discomfort, decreased mobility, and further injury due to the formation of adhesions.
What causes scar tissue to develop?
Scar tissue is a normal response to any kind of injury, including surgical incisions. It is the body’s way of creating a protective layer around the wound, which then becomes scar tissue.
How long does it take for scar tissue to form?
Scar tissue generally takes at least 6 weeks to form. This can vary depending on the type of injury or surgery as well as the body’s ability to heal.
Can you prevent scar tissue after surgery?
Yes, there are a few steps that one can take to reduce their chances of developing scar tissue after surgery. These include patient education, physical therapy and manual massage, as well as ultrasound therapy.
Back surgery and its accompanying recovery process can be a difficult time for any patient and their family. Taking the measures to prevent and treat scar tissue formation is an important part of the process and can help ensure a smooth and successful recovery. With the proper knowledge, care, and guidance from medical professionals, one can take action to prevent and treat scar tissue formation after back surgery.