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Author Topic: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?  (Read 10669 times)

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Offline soccermom

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Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« on: January 22, 2004, 03:40:34 AM »
Hi All,

I wanted to know if scar tissue can be broken up completely and gotten rid of by simply massaging the area? Has anyone had any succes in this? When I went to see the OS today he said that I had some under my knee already (15 days after surgery). With persistance can I get rid of it by massage?

Thanks for your Input

Christina
Meniscus tear/Torn MCL/Partially Torn ACL
Meniscus Repair 8/21/03 Debride Surgery 10/18/03, 1/6/04  fat pad remvd & lateral release. Had Arthrofibrosis. ROM @ 140/ 0
deg.Take yr  to rebuild quad.

Offline Heather M.

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2004, 04:05:09 AM »
Christina,

I've not had success making it go away with massage.  But it does help tremendously in that it keeps the scar tissue mobile, limber, and helps prevent it from attaching to anything.  The massage is not a little rubbing with lotion--anyone who tells you differently is full of hooey.  It is a very painful, deep, relentless massage that has many, many names:  myo-fascial release, ASTM (augmented soft tissue mobilization), cross friction massage, ROLFing, and so forth.

The people who say they put a little vitamin e oil on their knee and made the scar tissue go away are, I would imagine, not prone to forming a lot of it anyway.  

So I guess my position would be that massage can help, but I don't think it breaks down scar tissue to the extent that it can be reabsorbed.  That's why all the scar tissue recoveries begin with surgical removal, then preventing the stuff from coming back.  

However, at this point you may only have fluid around your patellar tendon, in which case massage could help push it out of there...the key would be to know when to stop.  Massage brings circulation to the area, and sometimes leads to inflammation...it's a fine line we wobble on.

But, hey--you can't heal without scar tissue!  Your body doesn't know how.  So it's not surprising that you have some of it, you just need to keep it mobile and keep the swelling down so you don't produce more of it.  You're still so early, don't get down yet.  Definitely work on your knee, massage your incisions, do cross friction work and all, make sure your PT does myo-fascial release stuff.  That's been the most beneficial to me.  I've had a lot of improved mobility in my kneecap with a new PT working on it...I do sometimes see stars when he does it, though.  It ain't fun, but sometimes it hurts so good.

Heather
« Last Edit: January 22, 2004, 04:07:24 AM by hmaxwell »
Scope #1: LR, part. menisectomy w/cyst, chondroplasty
#2-#5: Lysis of adhesions/scar tissue, AIR, patellar tendon debridement, infections, MUA, insufflation
#6: IT band release / Z-Plasty, synovectomy, LOA/AIR, chondroplasty
2006 Arthrofibrosis, patella baja
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmaxwell

Offline Jennifer

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2004, 05:21:29 AM »
Christina~~~~

I have had a lot of the kinds of deep tissue massage that Heather has spoken about for the knee and through my calf area.  I actually have some adhesions along my tibia due to shin splints (from my days running).
I can relate a positive story about a nasty adhesion I developed after my foot surgery.  I had a Accessory Navicular Excision (don't ever let anyone talk you into this procedure...).  Where your Posterior Tibial Tendon inserts into your foot is the location of my incision...roughly on the medial side of your foot at the top of the arch.  The incision adhered to the bone  >:(  My OS didn't feel that the surgery warranted PT so I was on my own to get it loose and to keep it that way.  I was pretty successful with massage alone keeping it mobile, but if I let it go a few days it would adhere again.  Well long story short when I started withmy current OS he deferred my foot issues to a Podiatrist.  We combined my PT for the foot and the knee and the PTA that works with my PT was able to get it completely free and it has never re-adhered.  It wasn't painful either (at least for me...he was usually sweating by the end).  He did very tight little circles right along the scar.  He never worked for more than 10 minutes at a time on it 2 times a week.  The kicker is that he started work on the scar 8 months post-op  :o :o :o
Good luck with your massage...I can't wait to have someone take over this time.  I never feel like I get a good angle on the scar...
Jennifer
« Last Edit: January 22, 2004, 07:17:56 AM by Jennifer »
11/98 LR+chondro(L);Maquets T3 5/99(L),5/00(R);8/00 bilat hdwr removal;7/01 chondro+therm shrink(L)10/01-therm shrink(R);2/02, LR +chondro+menis repair(R);7/01 access navic excis (L) foot;11/02, bilat Baker's Cyst Asp;12/03 Roux-type T3 +meniscus trim(R),12/04 Roux-type T3(L) :o :o :o

Offline Heather M.

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2004, 05:28:37 AM »
Jennifer,

Thanks for reminding me--I actually did have a similar experience...so I have to edit my reply to say the only time massage has been successful with scar tissue on me was when adhesions had sucked down the surgical scars.  I've always massaged my incisions after surgery to keep them mobile and prevent that puckering that you sometimes get.

Definitely massage the incisions, because you can keep them from adhering to the bone beneath.  I just don't think massage works on the kind of scar tissue that gets underneath the patella or something like that.

I think I need to be careful when I talk about scar tissue because a lot of times I'm not talking about the same thing that others are--I really think massage works on scar tissue as discussed above, and it can keep things loose and mobile.  I just don't feel like massage works to eliminate *arthrofibrosis* or chronic problems with scar tissue.  I think that's where the confusion can come in.  

So does massage (specialized, deep, therapeutic massage) work on localized bits of scar tissue--sure it does.  But I don't think it can magically evaporate chronic adhesions/arthrofibrosis.

Don't get me wrong, I pay for deep, intense, ouchy massage every week.  It helps me a lot.  But it doesn't magically make bands of scar tissue go away, at least not in my knee.  But Christina is EARLY in the process and maybe getting that fluid moving before it forms scar tissue will be the key!  And besides, the massaging keeps other problems (IT band, myo-fascial restrictions, etc) from making your life miserable with a whole bunch of niggling little painful bits.

So I'll apologize for not being clearer--it's been a crazy day.  I finished writing a book, and I'm a little loopy...I guess writing 112,500 words will do that to you!   ;D
Heather
« Last Edit: January 22, 2004, 06:36:16 AM by hmaxwell »
Scope #1: LR, part. menisectomy w/cyst, chondroplasty
#2-#5: Lysis of adhesions/scar tissue, AIR, patellar tendon debridement, infections, MUA, insufflation
#6: IT band release / Z-Plasty, synovectomy, LOA/AIR, chondroplasty
2006 Arthrofibrosis, patella baja
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmaxwell

Offline Jennifer

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2004, 07:31:24 AM »
Heather~~~~

Congrats on the book.

My sister-in-law is an author.  She writes expository texts for young children and young adults.  I think she is on her 12th published piece right now.  She also does narratives which are on the way.

From listening and discussing the process with her, I am amazed at how the publishing world works.  Luckily, it is getting a lot easier to get things published.  The editing process has definitely changed though.

Good luck with that endeavor.

As for scar tissue I really think some of it is surgical technique.  In fact I have memories of research pointing in that direction.  I hope that I was fairly obvious that I was speaking about adhesions along scars from incisions...

Jennifer
11/98 LR+chondro(L);Maquets T3 5/99(L),5/00(R);8/00 bilat hdwr removal;7/01 chondro+therm shrink(L)10/01-therm shrink(R);2/02, LR +chondro+menis repair(R);7/01 access navic excis (L) foot;11/02, bilat Baker's Cyst Asp;12/03 Roux-type T3 +meniscus trim(R),12/04 Roux-type T3(L) :o :o :o

Offline Heather M.

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2004, 07:47:51 AM »
Hey Jennifer.

Don't get me started on editors today.... >:(  

But it's not an endeavor, it's the way I make my living.  (And it beats the heck out of the cube farm!)  That's the thing about publishing, especially in what I do (commercial fiction).  The editor is there to assess market trends and try to predict what readers want.  While we agree on many things, where we diverge--look out!  So every time I get editorial comments, they're always about the same darned stuff.  I get tired of rehashing, as I'm sure she does as well.  Doesn't put me in the best of moods, so I was downright crabby tonight when I finished addressing the last of her comments.

Some day, I'm going to write a murder mystery where an OS and a PT are found kneecapped and an editor did it.....hmm.  Guess I got carried away there.

PT tomorrow, and it's late, so I'm off to bed.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2004, 07:48:12 AM by hmaxwell »
Scope #1: LR, part. menisectomy w/cyst, chondroplasty
#2-#5: Lysis of adhesions/scar tissue, AIR, patellar tendon debridement, infections, MUA, insufflation
#6: IT band release / Z-Plasty, synovectomy, LOA/AIR, chondroplasty
2006 Arthrofibrosis, patella baja
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmaxwell

Offline Heather M.

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2004, 07:52:39 AM »
Oh, and about the scar tissue--there's a lot of stuff out there on technique.  My doctor is a big pioneer/proponent of the anterior interval release as the least invasive, most effective way to deal with the arthrofibrosis that causes severe patellar mal-tracking.  I've read where others go a step further and do a big open surgery (sometimes even through the back of the knee--OUCH!!) to aggressively debride the scar tissue...but I look at that and think it just can't be right.  I developed a whole knee full of scar tissue just from arthroscopy, so what on earth would a five inch incision leave behind.

You are right, surgical technique accounts for a lot.  My doctor figures it's about 40%.  But he still weights the PT more heavily in terms of importance.  I didn't really care what he wanted me to do post op--I would have spent the whole time on my head!  I was just so happy not to hear "I've never seen a patient produce scar tissue like you do."  Instead, I got "I've seen this before and I know what will help."  Could've kissed the man!

Take care.  Oh, and I forgot to ask where you're from in WA.  My family is in Anacortes.

Heather
Scope #1: LR, part. menisectomy w/cyst, chondroplasty
#2-#5: Lysis of adhesions/scar tissue, AIR, patellar tendon debridement, infections, MUA, insufflation
#6: IT band release / Z-Plasty, synovectomy, LOA/AIR, chondroplasty
2006 Arthrofibrosis, patella baja
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmaxwell

Offline soccermom

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2004, 03:43:56 PM »
Oh Heather,

You make me laugh! ;D Congratulations on your book. That is so cool to do for a living. My daughter loves to write and is so good at it too. Right now her passion is writing episodes of her favorite show ( which is cancelled) Invader Zim.

Thanks to your and Jennifer for your replies. I massaged for an hour yesterday because the doctors words were still ringing in my ears..."It is not uncommon to have to go in again to clear out scar tissue one more time" I guess I was feeling a bit desperate. So, an hour of massage and 15 min of mobilizations and then I got sore and a bit swollen. That will teach me to overdo wont it.

Hugs to you both

Christina

P.S. Heather, I would love to read something you have wrote but I dont know if that would be given out to much info for your comfort. Send me a message with a title if you are comfortable with that. If not that is ok too. I understand ;)
Meniscus tear/Torn MCL/Partially Torn ACL
Meniscus Repair 8/21/03 Debride Surgery 10/18/03, 1/6/04  fat pad remvd & lateral release. Had Arthrofibrosis. ROM @ 140/ 0
deg.Take yr  to rebuild quad.

Offline Jennifer

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2004, 04:07:36 PM »
Christina and Heather~~~~

I do believe that surgical technique has a lot to do with it.  My scars were positioned in an effort to minimize scar tissue formation when I had my Maquets...my incisions run horizontally (at most 3 inches long) just above the tibial plateau.

I did have some obvious signs of collagen production problem early on in my surgical history.  As a result I have been taking MSM orally and recently my PT suggested the topical MSM.  I also take the herbal Horsetail to assist the process.  I wonder if those are having any positive effect.  My PT said that she has seen the topical MSM help burn patient well after their injuries.  I understand, from her, that burn scars can become worse and worse over the life of the scar.

I wouldn't want you to think I was holding out on any info ;)

On to work and PT today :o

Jennifer
11/98 LR+chondro(L);Maquets T3 5/99(L),5/00(R);8/00 bilat hdwr removal;7/01 chondro+therm shrink(L)10/01-therm shrink(R);2/02, LR +chondro+menis repair(R);7/01 access navic excis (L) foot;11/02, bilat Baker's Cyst Asp;12/03 Roux-type T3 +meniscus trim(R),12/04 Roux-type T3(L) :o :o :o

Offline soccermom

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2004, 08:43:16 PM »
Jennifer,

Have a good day. Dont let that PT be too rough with you. I will be thinking of you. ;)

Christina
Meniscus tear/Torn MCL/Partially Torn ACL
Meniscus Repair 8/21/03 Debride Surgery 10/18/03, 1/6/04  fat pad remvd & lateral release. Had Arthrofibrosis. ROM @ 140/ 0
deg.Take yr  to rebuild quad.

Offline Linds

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2004, 10:16:35 PM »
I am having Active Release Therapy with my Chiropractor to work on my adhesions. So far my adhesions in my quads have not improved...but my surgical scarring has improved.  :) That's a happy story!
HUGS
linds
1997 Scope RK
2002 LR RK
2002 Scope and hematoma evac RK
2004 LR LK
May 06 Fall from Horse, partial ACL tear and meniscus injury, Tibial plateau injury
2007 Scope, Plica Excision and Debride LK
2009/2010- Possibly Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Offline soccermom

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2004, 10:19:46 PM »
Great Linds,

I am happy to hear that ;D

Hugs back to you

Christina
Meniscus tear/Torn MCL/Partially Torn ACL
Meniscus Repair 8/21/03 Debride Surgery 10/18/03, 1/6/04  fat pad remvd & lateral release. Had Arthrofibrosis. ROM @ 140/ 0
deg.Take yr  to rebuild quad.

Offline Jennifer

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2004, 05:53:36 AM »
Christina~~~~

PT was great  :)  The PT was really impressed with the work that I have done.  She also called my OS a genius or a miracle worker when she saw the new and improved tracking.  Our main work will be ROM, building the VMO back, and dealing with the scar tissue.  My active ROM was 104 degrees and I was able to ride the bike today...only 2 minutes (she made me stop...I got the RPM up to 65  ::) ), but it felt pretty good.  I do have issues with guarding when I go from flexion to extension.  She said it was in the typical deadly range (high compression area...85- 60ish ? ? ?) so I felt better.  I thought I was losing it because I couldn't lift my leg back up.
The VMO will be given some help with e-stim (15 minutes to start).  I am to continue with the quad sets, SLRs, etc.  She also checked off that I was able to go up stairs already.
The scar tissue is there, she was doing some mild myofascial releases nothing too deep yet.  She has this philosophy of training the scar tissue to go in ways that don't oppose the motion.  She did ask if I was taking the usual supplements and suggested adding some C for now to work with the MSM.
I will be going to PT 3X a week but at least it will make the time go faster.  
I hope that your appointment goes as well as mine did.

Jennifer
11/98 LR+chondro(L);Maquets T3 5/99(L),5/00(R);8/00 bilat hdwr removal;7/01 chondro+therm shrink(L)10/01-therm shrink(R);2/02, LR +chondro+menis repair(R);7/01 access navic excis (L) foot;11/02, bilat Baker's Cyst Asp;12/03 Roux-type T3 +meniscus trim(R),12/04 Roux-type T3(L) :o :o :o

Offline soccermom

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Re: Can Massage Make the Scar Tissue Go Away?
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2004, 06:03:58 AM »
Yey for you Jennifer! That all sounds so great. I am jealous that you get to go 3 x a week. That will help you alot. ;D I cant wait until I can go upstairs the correct way. I have stairs in my house so that would definitely come in handy. I am glad you had a good visit and keep working hard . YOU GO GIRL!!

Hugs to you

Christina
Meniscus tear/Torn MCL/Partially Torn ACL
Meniscus Repair 8/21/03 Debride Surgery 10/18/03, 1/6/04  fat pad remvd & lateral release. Had Arthrofibrosis. ROM @ 140/ 0
deg.Take yr  to rebuild quad.