Scarring can often be a result of surgery and the degree of the scarring can cause problems and hinder the recovery process. For example, the scaring may lessen the normal range of movement of a joint and slow down and hinder the patient to partake in the appropriate rehabilitation and stretching exercises.
Acupuncture is used for many skin conditions and is also used for rejuvenation of scar tissue.
Why is the post-operative scarring sometimes more pronounced?
There are many factors that contribute to post operative surgery scarring including the depth and width of the surgery, the experience of the surgeon, the type of surgery involved and other factors such as genetic disposition to scarring as well as the general health of the skin.
What kind of problems can there be as a result of the scarring?
Apart from the visual aspect of the undesirable scarring , there can be abnormal colouring, lumpiness, numbness, itching, adverse temperature sensations and even an achiness or what is described s a stretching type pain. Surgery, particularly when involving joints, often restricts the normal range of movement.
How can acupuncture help scarring?
Acupuncture creates an immune response in the area being treated, effectively harnessing the body’s own processes to “clean up” the area. Immune competent cells are attracted to break down scar tissue, while blood circulation is increased and other chemical messengers can stimulate the regeneration of nerves and other tissue.
Are the acupuncture meridians involved in the treatment of scarring?
Depending on the location of the scaring, one or more meridians may traverse through the area and acupuncture points on these meridians may be selected. In other cases, acupuncture points not on the meridians can be used, for example the acupuncture point geshu on the back may be selected to enhance the general blood circulation. There are also specific needling techniques that surround the scar.
What about the patient’s constitution or disposition to scarring?
Traditional Chinese medicine looks at the overall health of the patient and most people fall into into a specific type of imbalance according to traditional diagnostic parameters. There may be a spleen weakness effecting blood production or a liver imbalance inhibiting energy circulation. Everyone is different and can benefit from acupuncture to improve constitution.
Can acupuncture be used alongside physiotherapy and is it covered by ACC in New Zealand?
In most cases if the surgery was required as part of treatment for an injury, post surgery rehabilitation could involve physiotherapy as well as acupuncture. The number of sessions available through ACC will vary between case to case.
Scott Pearson of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre opposite Wellington hospital says “Acupuncture can offer significant benefits to people going through rehabilitation from surgery, and can be a great conjunct to physio and/or occupational therapy“.