With the latest advancements made in modern medicine, the likelihood of surgical scars being noticeable has slimmed down quite a bit. Most surgical procedures that are practiced now are not as evasive as they have been. The invention of lasers and small scopes/cameras have really improved surgical procedures and increased the rate of recovery. Knee scopes are a perfect example of this.
As a massage therapist, I have seen some very old and horrendous surgical scars. Unfortunately there’s only so much massage can do to lessen their appearance and by the time the scar tissue as turned white, there’s not much that can be done cosmetically speaking. However, if you massage a non surgical scar while the tissue is still pink, the chances of the scar healing and not being noticeable are extremely high.
There are many factors that come into play when it comes to determining the speed of recovering from surgery. Age is one of these factors; as we age the collagen in our skin isn’t produced as often. However, if you have an old surgical scar, chances are the appearance of that particular scar will decrease over time because the body has had time to heal and break down the scar tissue. The placement of the scar can also affect the way the scar will heal as well as the nature of the procedure. For example, most back surgeries done nowadays (I want to say maybe the past 10 years or so; depending on the surgeon) leave the tiniest of scars. Whereas if the entire back had to be worked on for the procedure the scar will most likely take up the entire back and will most definitely be noticeable. You can still massage the scars to help break down the tissue to get rid of that ropey feeling they can get and sometimes that will at least help the area feel better and less restricted.
For fresh scars (meaning the wound is fully closed and no longer needs stitches or anything to help keep it closed) massage can help lessen the appearance as well as help speed up recovery. Using an appropriate lotion or oil (unscented); vitamin E oil comes highly recommended. Gently massage the scar by using your fingers in a circular motion. Your intent is to encourage the tissue to heal back together, like stitching two pieces of fabric. Non surgical scars usually don’t turn white and are not as noticeable as those created by say a scalpel. Massaging the scar tissue will help decrease the ropey feeling that is often felt and increase circulation in these areas to encourage new and healthy cell production.
As always please consult your physician if you are not certain if your incision is healing correctly or if there is concern for the the location. Most doctors and surgeons know about massage for healing incisions and the like. In fact after one of my parents had their first hip replacement, they were given an extensive packet upon discharge on how to care and help the body heal the incision.