Scar tissue forms as part of the healing process after an injury to human tissue. This will therefore form after any surgery, including breast surgery. After a lumpectomy to remover a breast cancer, the lump of scar tissue forms in the hole left after breast tissue is removed. You can also have scar formation after radiotherapy for breast cancer.
Scar tissue can cause its own side effects: nerve pain or numbness if scar tissue forms around nerves. If scar tissue forms around a stitch from surgery, it's called a suture granuloma and also feels like a lump. Scar tissue can also make breast tissue appear firmer or rounder than before surgery and/or radiation. The scar tissue may also ‘stick’ to the layers or tissue beneath which we call ‘adhesions’. Addressing scar tissue early and regularly can reduce the chance of this occurring.
For external or surface scars the ideal way to reduce scarring is through massage. Massage helps the body to remove the build-up collagen from the site. It leaves the scar flatter, more supple and flexible. Massage also helps to keep the scar moist and less itchy as it heals. This is also the case for scars at the donor site after a reconstruction surgery such as a DIEP or TUG procedure. This can be performed by an oncology massage therapist, osteopath, or physiotherapist.
In the past treatment for the internal scar tissue which is left after surgery has been a challenge. However, osteopathy is uniquely effective for the internal scars post-surgery through the use of specific hands-on techniques which soften the tissue below the surface, and often deep within the breast.