Knee replacement surgery recovery comes with scar tissue

May 10, 2012 at 12:00 am in Healthy Living by VN Editors

Knee pain relief is important, and even the deep scarring that often follows knee replacement surgery recovery isn’t too high a price to pay — but, you do still want to look your best. After invasive knee surgery, it’s likely that you’ll have deep, ropey scars in shades of purple. And frankly, they can get pretty ugly — but there are options to help you minimize that scarring, making it much easier to show off your new knee once your recovery is over.

Knee replacement scars

The scar that forms as the skin of your knee heals will usually appear bumpy and discolored. You may have some loss of feeling in this area, a natural side effect of the replacement surgery itself (because your nerves are cut during this process). As your body heals, you will get feeling in this area and the scar will eventually begin to look more even — but its appearance can be improved with further treatment.

  • Eat healthy. Every part of your body heals faster when you eat a healthy diet that’s rich in vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. Take daily multivitamins and eat healthy foods to boost your body’s own natural healing powers, and your scar will diminish that much quicker.
  • Water. Drinking lots of water is always good for the skin, even knee skin. Keep your skin well-lubricated throughout the whole of your knee replacement surgery recovery period, and even after. You can’t go wrong with water.
  • Wash frequently. Keep your hands and your scar tissue clean by washing with non-abrasive antibacterial soap. Clean skin heals healthier.
  • Stretch. As part of your knee replacement surgery recovery period, you’ll be given a regular program of knee stretches. Follow this religiously, because the skin around your knee needs to stretch, too. Frequent stretching helps prevent the shrinking, shriveled look that some scars get as they heal.
  • Protection. Your scar tissue may look pretty ferocious, but it’s actually more sensitive than your undamaged skin. Scarred skin has a tendency to rip and become re-damaged, so take it easy during your knee replacement surgery recovery period to avoid further skin damage. You also want to keep it out of the sun, covering it with clothing or sunblock to prevent exposure. Sunlight can make scarring even worse, and may cause contracting and other unpleasant side effects.
  • The surgery. If you have surgery on your joints to get knee pain relief, you’re going to end up with a scar. This is unavoidable. However, you can talk to your doctor about less invasive knee procedures and partial surgery options that create less scarring than total replacement surgery.
  • Topicals. Unless your physician gives you the okay to do so, avoid topical ointments and creams designed to reduce the appearance of scars. Generally, your knee replacement scar will fade and thin out within months of the surgery, and topical treatments may hinder this natural process or otherwise work against it.
  • Massage. Deep tissue massage helps break down the tough scar tissue that occurs in post-operative skin. Talk to your physical therapist about this kind of deep massage, which can also help to improve knee flexibility and even speed up knee replacement surgery recovery and healing times.

Surgery isn’t your only option. Learn more in our free special report, 5 Keys to Knee Pain Relief Without Surgery.