Scar formation is a normal response following any injury or surgery; it is the way the body heals injured structures. Scar tissue may involve only the superficial skin, or it may involve the deeper tissues beneath the skin, including nerves and tendons.
An active scar may be red, raised, firm and thick. Scars can become overly sensitive and can limit motion and function
Your hand surgeon or hand therapist may recommend a variety of scar treatments once your injury is healed, cuts are closed, and stitches are removed. Timing of your scar treatment varies depending on the type of injury or surgery. Scar management treatments may include:
Some scars take up to a year to mature. Therefore, some scar revisions (a surgery that minimizes a scar so it blends in) may not be offered until a year after injury/surgery. Scars have completed the healing process when they are light in color, smooth, and no longer sensitive to touch. A fresh, healing scar (pink, red, raised, thick, and sensitive) should be protected from sunlight; sun exposure can darken it.
After the skin and deeper tissues have healed, the scar goes through four different stages of healing. Although the initial skin scar may be minimal, the scar will often enlarge and become more reddened over the following 4-6 weeks. An active scar is typically red, raised, firm and thick. Sometimes this change can be confused with infection. Also, the outermost layer often loosens while the deeper layers remain intact; this is normal as well.
Following the swelling/reddening phase, the wound becomes smaller and paler over the next 2-3 months (Figure 2). Later, the scar becomes soft and has a more natural color in most individuals.