Why Do Surgical Scars Itch?

Why Do Surgical Scars Itch?

After surgery, one of the short-term and even long-term side effects that many patients have to deal with is itching at the scar site along with any pain you may be dealing with. It can be a very uncomfortable problem, one that can even affect quality of life, and although treatment may be difficult, it’s helpful to understand the process involved.

For any injury, including surgery, the healing process begins with blood clotting to form a scab. As new collagen is produced and replenished at the wound site, as well as elastin fibers, it is this portion of healing that can cause scar itching and discomfort. Itching can also come from sensation in the nerve endings that were cut or affected and from inflammation at the wound site.

Keeping the area hydrated is essential. You can do this with a body moisturizer or with a scar treatment that contains moisturizing ingredients (one with silicone works best.) A temporary, short term way to subside itching is using icepacks for short periods of time to help numb the area enough to help, although you shouldn’t keep ice on for more than about ten minutes at a time. Avoid using bar soaps, as they tend to strip the skin of natural oils, leaving the skin dry and chapped, which will increase itching.

Itching can also be an indication of infection. If you experience heat or pain along with the itching, it’s best to contact your doctor to discuss it further. An infection is not only dangerous to your health, but also contributes to a larger scar.

In general, as time goes on the itching should fade, along with any pain and the appearance of the scar. It’s a normal part of the healing process.

Have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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