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Scar tissue, How? Why?

kflee0kkflee0 Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Just my curiosity and concern, how does the scar tissue develop post surgery? What caused it? Is it because during surgery, the nerves need to be pulled away/retract causing it to scar??

If scar tissue develop after surgery, is it treatable/ reversible? or it is considered a partial permanent nerve damage that you have to live with rest of life?



  • Don't know if this will help much, but scar tissue is actually the body healing. Scar tissue fills in where the surgeon cuts tissue apart. The problems with scar tissues are when it forms around nerves. This recently happened to me with a lamenectomy and discectomy. I had another herniation and while the surgeon was fixing my l3-4 he also stripped out some of the scar tissue from my previous surgery that was impinging on my l5-s1 nerve

    Now on a bright note, the problems with scar tissue can be avoided most times with proper physical therapy and massage therapy.

    After problems begin there are some ways to fix scar tissue problems. There are many post on here about scar tissue, if you type 'scar tissue' in the search box it should give you alot of info.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    But the most important thing to realize is that you have about 6 to 9 months to do something with it.
    After that period, scar tissue that is formed not only is permanent but will be rigid and almost impossible to loosen up.

    After "most" of my surgeries, I had someone worked on stretching the scar tissue should there would be some flexibility there. If left untreated, I can tell you first hand, the tightness and discomfort can be very difficult to deal with at times.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Scar tissue is also becoming one of those "catch-all" diagnoses where when the doctor cannot figure out another reason for post-operative pain, it is convenient to put the blame on scar tissue.

    Everyone develops scar tissue after surgery. It is nature's way, the body's way, of filling a vacuum. Think of when you cut a finger. There would be a thin slice indentation there forever if it weren't for the fact that new tissue grows in to fill the void. Due to being exposed to air, the surface hardens and it turns into a scab. When the scab falls off, there is new tissue beneath which is technically scar tissue.

    Inside, a similar thing happens. It is collagen tissue that forms and it generally forms within three weeks up to 8 to 12 weeks. The new tissue only becomes problematic when it wraps around or attaches to a nerve. If you can intervene while the tissue is laying down (being formed), it is possible to influence the way it grows in. It is important, if doing any sort of surface massage, to always go in the same direction as the muscle, rather than across the face of the muscle. Not all massage therapists know this, so tuck this away in case you ever have surgery in the future.

    There are ways to try to deal with problematic tissue after it forms, but if you can influence how it lays down to begin with, you are usually better off.
  • "...Scar tissue is also becoming one of those "catch-all" diagnoses where when the doctor cannot figure out another reason for post-operative pain, it is convenient to put the blame on scar tissue."

    I have mixed feelings about that statement, Gwennie.

    For one, it sounds like this is what doctors tell patients who have no reason to be hurting after surgery. The hypochondriacs who are always sick, or hurting, etc. I'm sure it's not totally what you meant, but that's what it made me think of.

    I am one of those "lucky ones" to have scar tissue, wrapped around the L5-S1 nerve. While I have other back and neck issues, this by far seems to be what bothers me the most. I just cannot take it any more. My husband said I should have the surgery and remove it. Even if it does grow back, at least I will have a period where I will feel better, and hopefully it will last more than a few hours (as is the case with accupuncture or medication). Maybe THIS time I can take the proper steps to be sure it does not come back, and by this I mean "Follow Doctors Orders", To A 'T'! (hopefully)

    I have an appointment on 5/31 with a neurosurgeon. I'll find out if he thinks he can help me with it. I felt so much better after my "minor" hemi/lami in 02/06, I was back at a full-time desk job within 3 weeks. Seriously - I felt SO MUCH BETTER after the surgery. Now, I can't help but wonder if the scar tissue is my fault for not taking it easy.

    Don't get me wrong, I love to take it easy, just as much as anyone else. The problem comes when I am TOLD that I MUST take it easy. I am such a control freak when it comes to what I can and cannot or should and should not do, I guess...

    So, I go for my updated MRIs this week and then will see the same doc who did my hemi/lami at the end of the month. Wish me luck.
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