Hypertrophic Scars

Pic of a hypertrophic scarWithin the natural process of every living thing is the instinct to protect itself against every externally introduced agent that may violate the integrity of the skin, the soonest possible. In the case of humans, when an injury or a wound occurs, the first reaction is to form blood clots in order to prevent as much blood loss as possible. The next step is to produce collagen to replace the quantity damaged.

Ideally this replacement occurs by producing the same amount of collagen at the same rate as the one destroying the damaged cells. This is controlled by a mechanism that regulates tissue repair and regeneration. If this mechanism suffers a disruption, then the rate of replacement is unbalanced and it results in sediments of excessive collagen. When this happens a raised scar is produced. This is called a hypertrophic scar.

Apart from collagen, it is possible that these scars may contain nerves and blood vessels. They are developed whenever the wound, either traumatic or thermal, has reached the deeper layers of the skin. It is a frequent phenomenon to develop such scars wherever there has been a pimple, a cut, a burn or a body piercing and it is possible that there may be a hereditary predisposition for developing hypertrophic scars.

How to Identify Hypertrophic Scarring

In appearance, these scars are reddish in color, thick and they are limited within the boundaries of the original wound. There may be pain and itchiness involved and the tissue may continue to thicken over a period of up to six months. If they are located close to a joint they may restrict motion.

In most cases the situation is improved after one or two years on its own, but in the meantime they may create a stressful circumstance resulting from the foul appearance and the intensity of the itchiness. After a period of several months a hypertrophic scar may flatten and become pale.

In most cases treatment is very simple. Massaging the area of the scar, provided that the wound is well-healed, will greatly improve the appearance as the tissue is broken up. If the scar is extensive it is recommended that surgical intervention removes it through excision. For scars that persist more than a year, treatment options include steroid injections, laser, prescription scar removal creams and silicone gel or sheets.

No matter what the choice of treatment might be, it is imperative that the attending physician is advised if there has been any scarring in the past and if this is a frequent occurrence, in which case he or she may decide that a surgery should be the course of action to follow.

A nice tip here is that there are options available to prevent the scar from forming in the first place. For example, if there is a wound in a finger, you can keep the finger stretched and tied to another.

In general, these types of scars are more of a nuisance than a danger and can be treated very easily. They will not re-appear unless there is another wound or there is another underlying medical condition.

Hypertrophic Scars
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