“I’ve had surgery and experienced scar tethering in the past. I’d like to have more surgery, but I’m worried it will happen again.

Is there a way of removing it – and how can I make sure it won’t happen again?” 

– patient

scar question
Dr David Sharp

Dr Sharp:

Scar tethering is sometimes part of your body’s scar healing, with scar tissue under the skin adhering to deeper structures. The scar healing process takes about 24 months in total, and during this period the scar progresses through a number of phases and presentations. How it looks, feels to touch – and the sensations in the area – also change during this period.

During the early phases of healing, everything tightens and can feel very firm and thick. During this time we generally recommend massage as your best prevention/optimisation tool. This can be done without lubrication or with the assistance of an over-the-counter silicone gel from the pharmacy to help with the movement. If you have a surface wound, you can also use our Healing Gel.

Following your post operative instructions and being patient are the best tools in the early stages of recovery, to optimise your results. Attending your post operative consultations so your surgeon can assess your scar development is also essential.

Prevention can be difficult, especially if the area has been operated on before and previously experienced tethering. Sometimes the surgeon can try to release the scar using subcision, whereby they undermine the fibrous bands holding the scar down, however this is not always successful, particularly on tighter areas where the skin is stretched across the bone such as the cheek or jawlines.

After the scarring has settled, scars can soften and loosen up with time – and if this doesn’t occur satisfactorily, Fraxel laser and dermal fillers can be used in small doses to help plump and improve the appearance of the skin in the area. Lasers can commence from week 6 post op, and fillers can be utilised a bit further down the track, once the initial healing period is complete.

During this period you will have routine post op consults booked, but we welcome you to come in and see us for a checkup – or to consult with Deborah, who is experienced with non surgical scar optimisation strategies. I hope this information assists during your healing process.

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