Understanding scar formation
Scars are a natural part of the body's healing process. When the skin is injured due to trauma, surgery, or burns, the body initiates a repair process involving collagen production. Collagen forms the basis of scar tissue, which replaces the damaged skin.
Causes of finger, hand, and upper limb scars
Injuries to the finger, hand, or upper limb can result from various causes, including:
Trauma: Accidents, falls, or sports injuries that lead to cuts, lacerations, or abrasions.
Surgery: Procedures such as hand surgery, joint replacement, or skin grafting.
Burns: Thermal, chemical, or electrical burns that affect the skin and underlying tissues.
Preventing scar formation
While it may not be possible to prevent scarring completely, certain steps can help minimise scar formation:
Prompt wound care: Cleanse and dress wounds promptly to minimise infection risk.
Suture choice: Surgeons may use fine, absorbable sutures to reduce visible scarring.
Topical ointments: Some ointments or gels may be applied to surgical wounds to aid healing.
Scar management strategies
Proper scar management is crucial to ensure scars heal optimally and maintain the best possible function and appearance:
Consult with an expert: An Accredited Hand Therapist is a physiotherapist or occupational therapist with expertise in the finger, hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder.
Massage: Gentle, regular massage of the scar tissue can help break down collagen fibres, making the scar flatter and softer.
Topical treatments: Silicone gel sheets or creams may be recommended to hydrate and soften scars, reducing their visibility.