Dealing With Post-Operative Scars From Joint Replacement Surgery

You decided to have a knee or hip replacement performed by Matthew D. Barber, M.D. in Mobile, Alabama, and while the pain is much improved, you now have a scar on your body.


Post-operative incisions, especially knee replacements, can sometimes develop into scars with bumpy areas called keloids or hypertrophic scars. The area around your scars may even feel itchy or sensitive during the first year after surgery.

What Causes Scarring

Whenever the skin is damaged, (even through surgery) you'll be at risk for scarring. However, some factors make patients more prone to scarring than others. These include:

  • Your age, as older skin is less resilient
  • Sun exposure
  • Darker-skinned individuals more likely to scar
  • Genetic tendency
  • The size and depth of your incision
  • How quickly your skin heals
  • Scar Prevention

    If you're lucky enough to be a person who heals well after joint surgery, you may not have to work as hard at scar prevention. Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt to take some preventive measures to help make your scars less noticeable.

    If you smoke, quit, as smoking slows the healing process. Stay well hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of protein, which also helps cell repair. Maintaining a healthy weight and managing chronic diseases like diabetes will also help your scars heal more quickly.

    Proper Wound Care

    Good wound care will maximize healing and reduce your chances of scarring. One of the best things you can do to minimize scarring is to follow the post-operative directions given to you by Dr. Barber and the staff at Alabama Orthopaedic Clinic. Among the steps you should take are:

  • Sufficient rest
  • Following wound care directions
  • Contact us at the first sign of infection
  • Avoid activities that put stress on the incision
  • Avoid exposure to sunlight
  • Scar Treatments

    Sometimes, even with preventive measures, scars from your joint replacement will remain prominent. However, several treatments are available that can reduce their appearance.

    Scar tissue massage, performed by physical therapists or by yourself, can help even out lumps and bumps around the incision.

    If you know that you tend to scar badly, ask Dr. Barber about topical scar ointments meant to minimize the look of scars. Steroid injections can be helpful in preventing keloids for patients prone to forming them.

    Ask Our Staff for Advice

    Remember that as your orthopedic care team, the staff at Alabama Orthopaedic Clinic in Mobile is here to help you, answer questions, and provide advice on any aspect of your joint replacement surgery and post-surgical care.

    Contact us today at (251) 410-3600 with any questions or concerns that you may have.


    ***While Dr. Barber focuses exclusively on the management of knee and hip problems with a focus on joint replacement procedures, he is proud to be a source of information for patients and has several specialist partners at ALABAMA ORTHOPAEDIC CLINIC who are available to treat any orthopedic condition.