Scar pain may occur anywhere on the body following a range of surgical operations. These include nephrectomy, mastectomy, neck surgery, abdominal and hernia surgery, hip and knee joint surgery. A further cause is trauma from knife wounds, burns and soft tissue injury.
The symptoms are often neuropathic in nature, that is a pulling, stinging and sharp pain with unpleasant sensitivity around the area. The skin may become so sensitive that some patients cannot tolerate conact with clothes or a bedsheet.
Scar pain is considered to be due to peripheral nerve injury, resulting in over-excitable nerves; neuroma formation, that is a ball of sensitive nerve tissue; or regeneration of the nerves resulting in abnormal connections and signals which are often translated as painful sensations.
Diagnosis is upon history and examination.
Treatment is directed at the scar tissue and includes topical desensitization techniques, local medicines and patches and complimentary therapy of acupuncture and TENs. Neuropathic pain modifying medication includings amitriptyline or pregabalin and targeted injection treatment such as scar infiltration and regional nerve blocks are frequently beneficial.