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Scar Tissue and Adhesions

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Updated November 09, 2009

Definition: Scar tissue, also known as adhesions, is the body's way of repairing damaged tissues.

When tissues in the body are interrupted by injury or impact, scar tissue forms as part of a several stage wound healing process. Scar tissue and its precursor substances help mend together the separated ends of the disrupted tissue. You could think of scar tissue as similar to a scab that forms when you scrape your skin, except that it is found internally in the body.

People who have experienced multiple back surgeries tend to have more adhesions -- every time the doctor goes in with the “knife,” tissues in the spine are disrupted and need to be reunited. Minimally invasive spine surgery uses only a very small incision through the skin, and expansion of tissues found under the skin. The result is the formation of fewer adhesions as compared to traditional back surgery.

Sources:

Lodish, Berk, Zipursky, Matsudaira, Baltimore, Darnell. Molecular Cell Biology. Fourth Edition. W. H. FREEMAN. 2000. New York.
Moore, K., Dalley, A. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Fifth Edition. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. 2006. Baltimore.

Kisner and Colby Therapeutic Exercise, Foundations and Techniques, 4th ed. F.A. Davis Company. 2002. Philadelphia.
Mosby's Medical Dictionary. 7th edition. 2006. Mosby Elsevier. St. Louis, Mo.

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