Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Scar tissue is the result of the normal healing process after an incision or open wound. It forms when the normal collagen cells are damaged, and the body forms new collagen fibers to mend the wound site. Because it is a new formation, it will have a different texture and thickness than the surrounding tissue. In many cases, scar tissue formation causes no issues, but if it impacts muscles, nerves, tendons or ligaments, problems can occur.
When you suffer a small cut and scar tissue forms, it’s unlikely that the scar tissue formation will affect any of the above structures. However, when surgery is performed, the surgical site is often larger and deeper, and healing doesn’t always go as planned with these incisions. But, with an understanding of how to prevent issues with scar tissue and a little effort on your end, you can help prevent the onset of problematic scar tissue following back surgery. We take a closer look at how you can keep scar tissue from causing problems after your spine surgery in today’s blog.
Preventing Problematic Scar Tissue After Back Surgery
As we explained above, scar tissue is a naturally occurring process after an open wound, so while you don’t want to prevent the scar issue from developing, you do want to do what you can to keep it from enveloping nerves or other vital structures. So how can to help ensure scar tissue grows in a healthy manner? Here are some tips:
- Opt For Minimally Invasive Surgery – As the name implies, a minimally invasive operation involves smaller incision sites than a traditional open procedure. Because the surgical site is smaller, less scar tissue needs to form and there’s reduced likelihood it will envelop key structures. Given an option, consider the minimally invasive surgical approach.
- Stretching Exercises – Following an operation, stretching and range of motion exercises can help to break up scar tissue and keep it from attaching to vital structures. Ask your surgeon which exercises can best target your surgical site.
- Laminectomy – Aside from trying to limit the incision site through a minimally invasive procedure and partaking in stretching exercises post-op, there’s not a lot a person can do to ensure their scar tissue forms without affecting important structures. So if despite your best efforts, you begin to suspect that a nerve or muscle has been entrapped, your surgeon can perform a minimally invasive procedure to remove the scar tissue that is causing problems. They’ll be careful to avoid nearby nerves and muscles, and they can also work to open up more space so that the scar tissue that regrows is unlikely to re-envelop the crucial structures. It may not be ideal to undergo a second operation, but it is a very effective option.
Minnesota Spine Surgeon
So if you’re undergoing a spinal procedure, talk to your doctor about the best ways to prevent scar tissue from causing problems during your rehab. And if you’ve already had spine surgery and you think your scar tissue may be causing pain, even years after your procedure, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today for more information.