Surgery is the primary cause of scar tissue. Cosmetic procedures such as abdominoplasty, facelift, liposuction, etc are prime examples of procedures that cause scar tissue. And, one of the most common causes of pain from scar tissue formation is from having surgery for cancer.
Women who have had mastectomy with lymph node dissection will very often suffer from reduced range of movement and pain. This is mainly because the surgery to remove the lymph nodes from the armpit can cause deep trauma to the structures and tissues of the shoulder joint and armpit cavity. The resulting scar tissue may cause decreased function and increased tissue tension and pain.
It has been found that the scar tissue that causes these problems, is composed of thousands of tiny strands of collagen, made strong by binding together – like a rope made of thousands of individual fibres. This ‘new’ tissue is less able to perform like normal tissue and wraps itself around any structures in its way, such as muscles and nerves, causing pain and restriction. The chemical bonds that attach each of these fibres to its neighbour, and to other structures, dissipate or dissolve over time, when placed under sustained pressure.
Treatment may be uncomfortable as there is already pain and discomfort. However, the discomfort will reduce as treatment progresses.