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Scar tissue and adhesions - what's the difference?

Discussion in 'Post Surgery Information' started by Josephine, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator
    Thread Starter

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2007
    The North
    United Kingdom United Kingdom
    Scarring is a complicated thing as there are several different types of it. Basically, 'scar' is a fibrous material which the body develops when there has been an injury or wound in the skin and/or deeper tissues. At its most basic, it is the matrix of new cells that binds the edges of a cut together. Once it's done it's job and sealed the wound, it settles down into a fine, thin line which is pliable and almost invisible.

    Then you get the kind of scarring where an ordinary scar just goes on growing. It doesn't attach itself to anything but just grows like a bunch of grapes in odd places, varying in size from peanuts to grapes though mostly they are quite small. They're little more than nuisance value as a rule though if they get big, they can be unsightly.

    Another abnormality that can occur in scars is the development of a keloid scar where instead of staying a nice fine almost invisible line, the scar develops into a dark brown and rather prominent bulging mass of tissue. This is more common in the Afro-Carribean population but it does sometimes occur in other groups.

    Keloid scar.jpg

    Adhesions are quite a different kind of thing. I have explained the how and why of it in detail in this article MUA (manipulation under anaesthetic) and adhesions. It's where structures like muscles and tendons that should be easily gliding past one another get stuck together and has nothing to do with the surgical scar.

    I would venture to suggest that these bumps have actually been caused by the massaging - there is no need to massage scars as the body is usually very capable of dealing with them on its own. It's quite possible for the friction to cause an overgrowth of the fibrous tissue resulting in these nodules. This is why I always recommend that scars are left well alone.
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