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  • Writer's pictureLisa Raimondo

Coping with Hypertrophic Scarring Post Mastectomy?

Definition of hypertrophic scarring and explanation of why it is common in post mastectomy/ breast reconstruction surgeries

Hypertrophic scarring is a condition in which the healing of a wound results in an excess of collagen within the tissue, causing an elevated and red appearance. This condition is thus an excessive response to wound healing and creates a visually distinctive scar. It typically presents as raised lesions forming across the affected area that regularly do not extend beyond areas of injury. It is considered common in post mastectomy/breast reconstruction surgeries as these procedures usually involve deep suturing techniques which can cause more tissue trauma during the healing period leading to hypertrophic scarring. Hypertrophic scarring often fades after one year, however it can last up to three years; therefore prevention measures are advisable where possible.

Treatments for Hypertrophic Scarring

Hypertrophic scarring is a common issue that arises during the healing process of wounds or incisions. Fortunately, there are various treatment options available that can improve the appearance of hypertrophic scars. Topical silicone gel sheets have been shown to be effective in reducing the thickness and redness of scars. Pressure therapy is another technique used to reduce the prominence of hypertrophic scars by applying pressure directly to the scar. Additionally, cryotherapy, which involves freezing the scar with liquid nitrogen, has also been shown to be effective in reducing scarring. In severe cases, corticosteroid injections can be used to alleviate inflammation and reduce the size of the scar. With multiple treatment options available, individuals suffering from hypertrophic scarring can feel optimistic about achieving a more desirable aesthetic outcome.

Mental and Emotional Impact of Hypertrophic Scarring

- Feeling self-conscious and anxious

- Lowering of self esteem

Hypertrophic scarring is a common result of injuries like burns, wounds or surgery. Although it doesn't have any serious consequences on the physical health, it can have a profound impact on the mental and emotional well-being of individuals. The raised, thick scar tissue can cause embarrassment, shame and anxiety in people, particularly if it is located on a visible part of the body. The psychological impact of hypertrophic scarring can even affect one's relationships and activities they used to enjoy. Coping with the scars and their emotional effects can be a challenging process, but there are resources available to help individuals manage the mental toll it can take.

Coping Strategies for Hypertrophic Scarring

- Connecting with a support group

- Learning to appreciate and accept one’s body

- Seeking professional counseling or therapy

Hypertrophic scarring can be a challenging condition to deal with, but there are certainly coping strategies available to help manage its symptoms. One effective strategy is to practice gentle massage on the scar tissue. Massaging can help to break up the fascial adhesions that contribute to the formation of hypertrophic scarring. Another strategy is to use silicone gel or sheets to help manage the appearance of the scar. These products have been shown to help flatten and soften scar tissue over time. Additionally, it's important to protect the scar from the sun, as UV rays can further darken the scar pigmentation. With the right coping strategies in place, individuals with hypertrophic scarring can feel more confident and in control of their skin's appearance.

The main takeaway here is that hypertrophic scarring can have a significant emotional and psychological impact on individuals, but there are multiple treatments and coping strategies available to help manage the condition. With proper care, hypertrophic scarring can be improved over time. If you are dealing with hypertrophic scarring, remember that you are not alone and there is help available. Reach out to a healthcare professional or support group for assistance in managing your condition.

wishing you a wonderful week

The Silikan Team

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