Mississauga Pelvic Health is proud to add Scar Release Therapy (SRT) using the Dolphin Neurostim Microcurrent Point Stimulation (MPS) to our list of offered services! This technology is a great option for post-operative clients that have undergone both pelvic health-related procedures (such as a c-section, hysterectomy, or tummy tuck) and non-pelvic health-related procedures (such as ACL reconstructions or fracture repairs). Read more to learn about the effects of scar tissue on your post-operative recovery!
What is scar tissue?
When we have an injury to our tissues (be it controlled, such as a surgical procedure, or spontaneous, such as a tear during childbirth), our body responds by forming scar tissue to repair the injury. Scar tissue is a collection of skin cells and collagen protein, and it forms in every layer of our injured tissues(1). For example, to complete a c-section, we must cross through seven layers of tissue, each of which will form scar tissue in response.
Figure 1. Six of the seven layers of tissue affected by a c-section (not pictured is the deepest layer - the amniotic sac).(2)
Scar tissue differs from our “healthy tissue” in two main ways:
Higher (and more dense!) Collagen Content: Collagen protein is what provides our tissues with structural support. Think of the walls around you; underneath the drywall are planks of wood that hold the walls up. This is the collagen in your skin, muscle and connective tissue. Scar tissue has more collagen than your “healthy” tissue pre-injury. This collagen is also more dense, meaning it is more rigid and resistant to movement.(3)
Disorganized Collagen Orientation: In “healthy” tissue, our collagen fibers are oriented parallel to one another, like strands of straight hair. In scar tissue, collagen fibers are laid down in a random orientation, like a knot or tangle in the hair.(4)
While these properties of scar tissue are natural and a part of the healing process, we want to aim for a functional scar. This means that our scar tissue should bend, stretch, and respond to the daily physical stressors that are placed on our bodies. Otherwise, a rigid and inflexible scar may restrict movement, cause pain, lead to progressive weakness, and contribute to overuse and compensation injuries.
What is Microcurrent Point Stimulation?
MPS using Dolphin Neurostim is used to address the second property of scar tissue: disorganization of collagen fibers. MPS is non-invasive and pain free. It uses two electrical probes to run an electric microcurrent from one side of your incision to the other. This current is fine-tuned to run through collagen fibers. By polarizing the tissue, your collagen fibers will be remodeled to complete the electrical circuit. This will reorganize the alignment of collagen fibers in your scar tissue, effectively “brushing out the knots” and contributing to improved scar appearance, improved scar mobility, reduced pain and improved muscle activation.
Figure 2. (1) A deep injury causes a defect in the collagen network and the physiological repair process begins. (2) During the healing stage, the body produces a dense and disorganized bundle of collagen. (3) With sufficient and functional external stimulation, the collagen is re-aligned according to function, mirroring the pre-existing collagen network. (4)
What does assessment and treatment look like?
MPH is the only physiotherapy clinic in the GTA offering MPS. At our clinic, we consider MPS part of a complete treatment session. We will begin your intervention with a detailed assessment, reviewing your health history, symptoms, and goals. Next, we will complete an in-depth physical exam to evaluate your scar appearance, mobility, and symptoms, as well as the health of the surrounding muscles, ligaments and joints. We always provide treatment on day one! You can expect to leave your first session with a released scar, detailed instructions on how to maintain and improve results at home, as well as a customized treatment plan based on the age and status of your scar.
If you have any questions regarding Pelvic Health Physiotherapy and c-sections, contact us to book a free 15 minute phone consultation with one of our Pelvic Health Physiotherapists.