Contracture Scars

photo of a contracture scar

A contracture scar has only one actual source, a burn. It is caused by the permanent constriction of the skin after such an injury, hence the name. If the injury is extremely severe, there may be damage to the nerves underneath the skin, as well as the muscle and the tendons which can also reduce the mobility of the injured limb or a joint, should they be located in close proximity to one.

Burns very rarely heal without scars. In contrast with a hypertrophic scar the tissue replacing the collagen lost is not the same. Usually it contains a lot more fibers and is of inferior quality. The top layer of the skin (epidermis) is not attached properly possibly resulting in further injury.

The timeline after the formation of a contracture scar is to peak in a period from three to six months and resolve moderately on its own after 12 to 18 months. Unfortunately, they can cause long term deformations both of a cosmetic nature, as well as of physical, not to mention the psychological factor which is not only caused by the deformities themselves, but also by the debilitating pain levels which require serious pain management. And here lies an even greater problem as the pain killers may create a dependency and an addiction.

The first step to take after a burn is to try to avoid the creation of the scar. If your hand is burned, splint the hand and wrap the fingers separately. If the neck is burned, keep it hyper extended as long as it takes for the wound to heal. If necessary, use the readily available pharmaceutical compounds that are meant to facilitate scar maturation.

There is a misconception here that must be resolved and the practice stopped. There is a great number of people, mostly of older ages, that believe in treating burns with yogurt, unless the burn is a third degree one and the tissue is completely destroyed. This is a grave mistake.

Even if there is some temporary relief, the practice does not address issues like allergies and especially alkaline excretions. If you have a skin prone to such excretions, using yogurt to treat burns is the same as trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline. Such issues can worsen the damage occurred underneath the surface and it is imperative that homemade remedies like that, are not used to treat either the burn or the scar that may result afterwards.

Any treatment must be explored through proper medical intervention. The solution that provides almost complete recovery especially after a very severe burn is surgical excision followed by skin grafting. The downside of this process is that extensive and repeated surgeries will be required. Other options include injection of dermal fibroblasts taken either by the patient themselves or from other compatible donors, prescription scar removal creams, laser, and pressure or silicone pads.

Contracture scars may be removed and not re-appear again in contrast with keloids, but they can be the most dangerous for the body especially if the wound that created them is very deep and reaches beneath the dermal layers. This is why it is imperative not to experiment but seek medical assistance immediately after the injury.

Contracture Scars
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