Physio Talks – Take control of your new scar

If you have had surgery you will heal with a scar. The good news is that a nice neat scar, stitched up by a nice neat specialist (or GP who loves doing minor surgery) will heal faster than the typical tear or suture of a skin laceration that occurred as a result of an accident.
Look at the direction of the incision. This can be seen by looking at the direction of the scar. Think of a piece of paper inserted vertically into your skin along the line of the scar and descending as deeply as the incision. It was probably deeper than your skin, assuming you had surgery for something more than just removal of a skin lesion.
Now, with that visualization, think of the scar descending along the surface of the piece of paper, because that is where you will find it if you could look inside. That scar will stick to things along the way like fly paper sticking to things along both sides of it and along the edges. Consider one more piece of information. For 12 weeks following the surgery you can change the character of that scar. After 12 weeks, it’s fixed like that for the duration.
Pushing, pulling, twisting, stretching and generally causing the scar to move around next to whatever is getting stuck to it will minimize how stuck it gets. Now, this is important, you MUST check how hard you push, pull etc. on the scar. Check with your physio, your specialist or GP to make sure you aren’t pulling apart something deeper and out of sight that really should be left alone. However, the stitching from surgery is most likely strong enough to cope with fairly strong manipulating of the scar. It won’t feel very good to forcefully manipulate your scar. In fact, if you are having an effect on it, it will probably burn a bit, or feel fiery, as mine did, but it gets better as the scar loosens up.
Why do it, you ask? Because if you don’t, you can end up with restrictions and aches and pains in place of the ones you had surgery for. There is absolutely no reason to substitute one set of problems while trying to treat another set. I am broadcasting this information about manipulating your own scar because this is information I have never seen delivered to the patient by the person who did the surgery, or any representative of the surgeon. Never. It’s information that can save a lot a grief in the end.
So, get control of your own scar, but double check that you are not likely going to hurt yourself.
These comments are general in nature. Be sure to check with your physio or doctor if you are not sure whether they apply to your situation.

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