Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Will my scar itch for the rest of my life?"
I have a scar on my abdomen from a hernia surgery. It still itches 3 years later. Is it going to itch for the rest of my life?
Surgery for even the most simple reasons can often have long reaching consequences that patients, and even their surgeons, forget to think about. Itching is one of those problems that is generally considered merely a nuisance, but can be much more of a problem to the patient. Prior to surgery, the nerves run in well organized patterns that innervate the various aspects of the skin and body. When these nerves are severed during surgery (even the smallest nerves that supply the skin), this innervation is lost. To some degree, the body attempts to repair this through regrowth of some of the small branches of the nerves, and also some new attachments of severed nerves to the areas that they now lie adjacent to. Unfortunately, this creates a problem for the brain, which then interprets the signals and the new wiring as itching. All of us have experienced this to some degree with the itching that comes after small injuries and while the scabs come off. If you continue to itch this far after the surgery, you should talk to either your original surgeon or to your primary care doctor. Either would be able to provide useful medications to help with the itchings, as well as make sure there is nothing more causing the itching.
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