Scar Mobilization

May 14, 2023

Scar mobilization is a therapeutic technique used by physical therapists to help reduce the appearance and discomfort of scar tissue and can also be performed at home. The goal of scar mobilization is to reduce scarring, improve range of motion, decrease pain and help the tissue to heal properly. It’s important to note that scar mobilization is not a substitute for proper wound healing, but rather a tool to help promote tissue healing and reduce the appearance of scarring. It is often used after surgery or after a wound has healed to help improve the overall appearance and movement of the scar. This article will outline the basics of scar mobilization and how to perform it.

Before beginning any type of mobilization, it is important to make sure the tissue is fully healed and there are no open areas or scabbing, typically around 8-10 weeks after the surgery or injury. Massaging helps to break down the scar tissue and increase circulation to the area. When massaging the scar, it is important to use light to moderate pressure and to avoid putting too much pressure on the area. To begin scar mobilization, you will need to start by gently massaging the scar tissue using light, circular motions at the edges of the scar and work your way inward and gradually increase the pressure as the tissue becomes more flexible. Once the scar tissue is warmed up, you can begin to gently stretch the tissue. Place gentle to moderate pressure on the scar and gently push it outward in different directions as if you were working around a clock. When you find an area of increased tension, focus some extra time there.

One of the most popular tools used in scar mobilization is glass cups. To use glass cups for scar mobilization, start by adding lubrication to the area (coconut oil, baby oil or vitamin E oil are good options). Then, place the cup directly over the scar and squeeze the bulb for suction. You can vary the amount of suction by how much air you squeeze from the bulb. The stretch you feel once it’s in place should not be painful. Hold it in place for 5-15 seconds, then you can pick it up and move it to another part of the scar or gently slide it along the scar and then hold it in place for 5-15 seconds in the areas of increased tension. This will help relax the tissues and break down the collagen fibers in the scar. Be sure to move the cup around the entire scar to ensure that the entire area is treated.

Scar mobilization is an effective way to reduce discomfort and improve range of motion associated with scar tissue and should not cause any increase in pain. If you have any concerns, please check with your physical therapist before beginning any scar mobilization treatment.