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Astym is an innovative form of soft-tissue therapy that stimulates the body to get rid of scar tissue and produce healthy tissue in areas that are causing pain and restricted movement.
Even after successful breast cancer treatment, women may experience pain, swelling, and decreased flexibility due to scar tissue. When you receive Astym treatment, a certified clinician will glide specialized instruments along the surface of your skin to identify and stimulate the areas of dysfunction. Astym treatment may be uncomfortable initially, but this improves with each treatment and your therapist will adjust the treatment to your tolerance.
Your physician and therapist will determine the appropriate time to start Astym treatment depending on your individual situation.
Laser scar reduction works by remodeling the collagen and reducing the erythema or redness of the scar area. Heating of the papillary dermis causes reorganization of the collagen, this is what allows for the reduction in appearance of scars, reduced size of pores, and tightening of the skin. There are many important factors when it comes to selecting the right lasers for realistic outcomes of various treatments. Spot Size– Refers to the diameter of the laser beam and helps control the depth the laser will travel through the tissues. Many companies will claim a high maximum amount of power without stating a spot size or pulse width. More and more advanced techniques have and are being developed every day to bring hope for a cure to this disease.
It’s important to start exercising as soon as possible, preferably before or during the course of adjuvant treatment. There's no single definition of "family," but what holds them together is a basic promise to work together through the experiences of this life. Nearly every woman who has had breast surgery, whether it was a lumpectomy, mastectomy – sometimes even a biopsy – finds herself dealing with scar tissue or keloids after her wounds have healed. On a very basic level, scars are caused when the dermis, the layer of skin underneath the surface, is damaged.
The extent of an individual’s surgical scars has much to do with genetics, age, the type of surgery, and whether or not the skin has been previously radiated. It’s no wonder many women are troubled by the appearance of scars; they often feel like yet another assault on a body that has already endured so much. While there are countless claims online and in commercials touting the effectiveness of one product or another, to date there is nothing that can absolutely guarantee a positive end result. Before we get started, we want to remind everyone that it is important not to use any products (other than those provided or approved by your doctor) on the surgical area until you’ve been given the green light by your healthcare team.
Plenty of advice floats around about massaging — with everything from Vitamin E creams purchased at the local pharmacy to high-end potions created specifically for this purpose. Although applying oil to a scar will not promote new skin growth or remove the scar completely, sometimes oil will soften the area and possibly smooth out some of the fibrous tissue.
Since Castor oil will not block pores and is believed to help break up excess oil produced by the body, it is thought this may assist in diminishing the appearance of scars. Remember, a little goes a long way, so applying a small amount of castor oil to your fingertips and massaging the oil over the affected area for a few minutes is suggested. It may go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway – any time you are using oils you should wash your hands thoroughly afterwards, so you don’t get the oil on your clothes. Vitamin E, or tocopherol, is a fat-soluble antioxidant that can be readily found in capsule, liquid or cream form either online or at your local drugstore, grocery, or health food store.
Since Vitamin E influences the production of collagen there have been many studies conducted to determine its usefulness in healing scars.
Onion (or Allium cepa) extract has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and regulate the formation of collagen. The aloe vera plant is well known for its natural anti-inflammatory properties which provide the ability to cool and soothe irritated skin and to help heal.
It’s not uncommon for the size, color, and texture of a scar to continue changing for a couple of years after surgery as the dermis continues to re-form under the scar tissue.
Using aloe vera in its pure gel form without any additives is believed to be the most effective method, and it doesn’t appear that frequent application has any adverse effects. Although its use is relatively new here in the United States, Argan oil (traditionally extracted from the nuts of the Argan tree in Morocco) has long been valued for its purported nutritive, cosmetic and medicinal properties.
Once again, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, Argan is touted to assist with everything from healing acne, erasing wrinkles, revitalizing and fortifying hair and nails, projecting the skin against sun damage and climate stress – and improving the look and feel of scars. Allergan, a pharmaceutical company perhaps best known for Botox® and Restatis® has created Scar Recovery Gel with Centelline™ designed to diminish the appearance of red or pink scars over time.
The Super Serum™ (although fairly expensive) was developed to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, increase collagen production, treat hyperpigmentation, hypertropic scar tissue (a raised scar but not as much as a keloid) and stretch marks, as well as providing UV protection. Esthetician Julie Phillips, owner of Skin Essentials in Montecito, CA, has used this line with good results and feels women who may not have had results with other products may want to give this a try. One of the most popular and perhaps well-known products for dealing with scars is a favorite of both physicians and pharmacists alike.
Their relatively new night cream, Mederma®PM claims to be the first and only overnight scar cream specifically formulated to work while you sleep. Blogs and chats alike very often contain commentary extolling the benefits of using the time-honored standby: plain old Vaseline®. He concludes, “The only thing really shown to help the healing process and minimize scarring is keeping a wound moist and covered. A very popular method for treating scars involves the use of gels and strips (or sheeting) using silicone.

NewGel™+ manufactures soft, flexible silicone water product sheets, strips, and dots designed to aid in the prevention, reduction, and management of scars.
NewGel+ silicone gel sheeting is non-invasive, self-adhesive, reusable, and formulated from medical grade silicone, available in soft, stretchable beige or clear. On the website Acupuncture Today, Skya Abbate, DOM, says: “The treatment of scars has an historical base in Oriental medicine and can often be the key to the successful resolution of chronic, persistent, intractable conditions. Acupuncture needles are different from the injections you may have received from your doctor. It is common for patients to see a positive change after only a few treatments, but every patient will have a different and individual response. We talked a bit about self-massage using creams and lotions, but you may actually want to consider going to a massage therapist to see if they can provide some improvement. Manual Lymph Drainage optimizes lymphatic circulation and drainage around the injured area. Of the utmost importance is finding a massage therapist with experience and training that focuses on scar massage. We all know that excessive sun exposure is associated with the increased risk of skin cancers, but many people feel a bit of sunshine can help them heal.
Be sure not to expose new scars to the sun, since the ultraviolet rays can slow the healing process as well as stimulating melanocytes (the cells that produce pigment), causing dark discoloration. If you have discovered something that you feel works well (and might work for others), please be sure to chime in (leave a comment on our Facebook page). Yes, sign me up to receive e-newsletters on products and services from Amoena, great articles about health and wellness, and little doses of humor and fun. Healing is guided through activity and exercise, resulting in healthier, more functional tissue. The body responds to this action by reabsorbing scar tissue and producing healthier tissue in the injured areas. In areas where the tissue has been affected by surgery or radiation, your skin may be more sensitive than normal.
A gentle heating during the laser scar reduction treatment area reduces the redness and appearance of scars. This is one of the most important characteristics of the laser because it determines how much energy is absorbed by particular targets in the tissue and how deep the laser will travel through the tissues.
The most common form in a woman’s lobules (the part of the breast where milk develops) or in the ducts (the tiny tubes that deliver milk to the nipple).
These range from concerns about body image, to post-surgical medical care, to the need for information on products that will help lumpectomy and mastectomy patients achieve a "natural" appearance.
Please take some time to explore our collection of articles about families going through the breast cancer experience -- from the point of view of children, parents, and of course, partners. The body produces a fibrous tissue called collagen to close the wound and assist in healing.
Although most scars will fade and diminish over time, it’s not unusual for a woman to feel impatient and look for ways to make this happen sooner rather than later. Having said that, we searched on blogs, message boards and websites in an effort to share some of the remedies women are discussing. It’s essential for the surgical site to be completely healed before you begin trying to find ways to reduce or eliminate scars.
This also seems to help ease the tight, uncomfortable pulling sensation so many women experience as their surgeries heal. What’s interesting is that one person will swear by a product they’ve used, while another will say they have used it to no avail. When this occurs, it may help to reduce the appearance of the scar and make it less noticeable. Although Vitamin E has been shown to penetrate layers of the skin and reduce the formation of free radicals that are believed to interfere with healing, it has not conclusively been shown to eliminate or reduce the appearance of scars. Although nothing definitive has been found, there is actually a concern that using Vitamin E may exacerbate the problem. Although no studies have shown a significant improvement in the appearance of scar tissue, in a study of 97 people using either an onion gel or a placebo gel, more people using the onion gel thought their scars were softer and less noticeable. Many people use it on burns and some people believe it is beneficial in helping reduce the appearance of scars. Proponents of aloe vera’s use feel this is the ideal time to apply it since it may reduce the inflammation associated with ongoing healing.
Even its proponents say that aloe vera is not a miracle cure, since it may only minimally reduce the appearance of scars even after several months of treatment. Some believe that its balance of Omega-6 and -9 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), phytonutrients and phytosterols (plant derived sterols or stanols that promote heart health) may provide an anti-aging regenerative, hydrating, protecting and healing power for the skin. Their website shows the before and after results for a woman with mastectomy scars, and claims although results may vary, this product has shown promise when used as intended. As she points out, it is very good for the face, so if it doesn’t work on a particular scar, the product won’t necessarily go to waste. Mederma® offers an entire line of products designed to improve the overall appearance, color and texture of scars. With a once-nightly application they say it has been clinically shown that scars become smaller and less visible in as little as 14 nights. We will touch on a couple of the better known products so you will have some idea of what they involve – and what they say they can do for you. According to their website, their scar management solution not only fades scars, but also flattens and softens them as well.

Their beige backing is slightly thicker and more durable than the clear backing, while their clear backing is thinner and often more comfortable for the user (both provide the same amount of silicone). They say that their proven Advanced Silicone Technology has been shown in countless clinical studies to reduce the appearance of scars new and old, by simulating the natural barrier function of healthy skin, hydrating scar tissue to soften the scar, thereby shrinking, flattening and fading it. Essentially, scars can be viewed as ‘potential’ organ-meridian disturbances, that is, as a physical or energetic disturbance of a meridian precipitated by the trauma induced to the tissues.
The Acupuncture needles used are hair thin and most people feel a light prick or pressure or even zero sensation when the needles are inserted. Again, you will want to get your doctor’s approval, but generally once the wound has healed, massage therapy can be performed.
Lymph drainage is enhanced by gentle, circular draining motions within the scar itself or a firm stretch to the skin above and below the scar, first in a straight line and then in a circular motion. Your therapist will stretch the skin next to the scar, place two or three fingers at the beginning of the scar and stretch the skin above the scar in a parallel direction. Applied directly to the lesion and transverse to the direction of the fibers, this deep tissue massage technique can yield desirable results in a mature or immature scar. Scar tissue will lengthen after being stretched, especially if the stretch is sustained for several seconds and is combined with massage. When you’re outdoors, always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Although there is nothing that can absolutely promise to get rid of scars, there are plenty of options available to try. Loss of motion and decreased strength may be experienced in the chest, neck and upper extremity. It is important for you to communicate openly with your therapist so you can work together as a team to achieve the best outcome possible. There are 4 main characteristics of a laser that need to be assessed to establish the efficacy for a particular type of treatment. This with the fluence, spot size, and wavelength determine how much energy is delivered to the targets.
A spot size and wavelength are the most important factors in determining the penetration of the laser in to the tissues. If you have comments about our site, or other tips that we haven't covered, please share them with us. When collagen is left behind once the damage to the dermis has been repaired, a scar is the result. And since we heal from the inside out, although a woman may feel that she is finished with the process several months after surgery, her skin may still be a work in progress. Since massaging an area that may still feel tender is more comfortable using creams and oils, many of the treatments discussed include some sort of lubricant. There’s something to be said for perception, especially if it brings peace of mind with it. This product is rather pricey compared to many other over-the-counter preparations, but if it delivers the promised results, it may well be worth the expense for some women.
Terence Davidson, professor of surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine, in an article appearing in the Los Angeles Times in April of 2011, you should “Save your money. In addition to the topical gel, they also offer a variety of sizes and shapes of silicone scar sheets.
Obviously during the initial stages of wound recovery, you will want to be sure your massage therapist uses a gentle approach. Placing the fingers above the scar, then making gentle circular pumping motions on the scar also helps drain congested lymph fluid. They will then move the fingers a quarter of an inch further along the scar and repeat the stretch of the adjacent tissue, working their way along the scar. Whether you decide to try a bit of petroleum jelly, bite the bullet and spend money on one of the higher-end products, or find yourself somewhere in between, you have possibilities. In addition, scar tissue can become very sensitive, making it difficult or impossible to wear a bra. Laser scar reduction outcomes depend on the severity, type, and location of the scar and the number of treatments provided to the area. Results can be slow and may very from person to person, but the reduction in redness is usually noticeable with in 4-8 weeks and collagen remodeling can take a few months.
The 1064nm wavelength has one of the best penetrations of any laser on the market, making it very versatile and the choice of many.
The following are just a few of the topical treatments women have used with varying degrees of success.
Massaging promotes circulation and healing, and using oil reduces friction so you are less likely to irritate the area. There are many old wives’ tales to buy into and a slew of products you can buy, but none have been scientifically proven to work. An alternative method is to follow the same pattern of finger movements using a circular motion instead of straight stretches. If the laser is capable of meeting the effective parameters, it can be used to treat hair removal, onychomycosis, spider veins, reticular veins, erythema, skin rejuvenation, scar reduction, and many other conditions.

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