T Nation

Scar Tissue (After Surgery)


#1

Just a quick question for any doctors or physical therapists out there. I'm almost three months out from ACL surgery (hamstring graft) and meniscus repair, and I've developed some scar tissue near my patella. My physical therapist is mildly concerned with it and told me to continue massaging the area (which I've been doing since day one after surgery).

I know that if I don't get rid of it, it can cause some problems on the long term. Can somebody help me by giving some tips/guidelines for massaging it?

Is there anything else that can be done to break it up? My PT today used this metal file-looking thing (shaped like a tongue depressor) and rubbed the area with it. She said that would help break it up, but I only see her once per week. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.


#2

I still have alot of scar tissue from a surgery on my hand. I stopped seeing my rehab idiots and started seeing my normal sports chiro. He was able to get in deep and break it up some, because everything was healed and i was already strengthening and he had the strength and confidence to get in there.

Also, I made a joke about injecting an epsom salt solution and then pulling it back out...the rehab idiots thought i was nuts. Then my chiro told me about a procedure where they can inject a strong saline solution, and a mix of vitamin b, e, c, and some other stuff into the area. The solution can break up scar tisasue. The procedure didnt work too well for me because the therapists at rehab screwed up my rehab, and i was told later the surgeon also screwed up.

If you can afford it as well, usually you can go back 6 months later or anytime after and they can take out most of the scar tissue, and its a light rehab program after.


#3

OP- the metal tongue depressor thing was probably Graston, can be an acceptable tool for breaking down scar tissue, however that should've been started prior to 3 months out, too late for you now, but you may want to see someone who treats it routinely a sports chiro certified in active release technique, or that has taken both of the graston modules, and isn't just scraping away. You have to be sure though that you're stretching and doing exercises so the new collagen lays down in a pattern similar to the stresses in the area.

The injection LSU is talking about is called prolotherapy, typically it's used in cases of chronic unresolved inflammation, and it basically is like hitting the reset button on the inflammatory process, in the hopes that the body will completely heal. The solution itself doesn't break down the scar tissue, but when treated in association with ART, Graston, SASTM, etc the scar tissue will break down and heal more easily.

As far as having an additional surgery to remove scar tissue, there are few surgeons that will do this, especially when a competent manual therapist (chiro, pt, etc) can fix it