Why Scar from Knee Replacement Surgery??

Scar after Knee Replacement

Your scar after knee replacement surgery is bothering you? Or maybe you have heard horror stories about someone having so much tightness in her Knee joint after surgery and unable to bend the knee joint.

I had a patient who was having terrible Knee Arthritis and was an ideal candidate for Knee Replacement Surgery( She was 50 years and was working as Bank Manager.). Still, she was not able to decide to go for surgery because she was very much self-conscious of the presence of a scar on her knees.

No matter what, you are on this webpage because you are concerned about incision healing and incision care after your knee replacement surgery. 

Your concern is legitimate since many people have some scarring issues going on in their new knees. 

In this article about Scar after Knee Replacement Surgery, we are going to discuss the following issues:

  1. Factors affecting scarring 
  2. Phases of scar Healing
  3. Best Incision healing tips and tricks

Factors affecting scarring

As with any surgery, many factors can derail the healing of your Knee Replacement scar or incision! Some of the causative factors can be prevented or minimized by taking care of them before undergoing surgery.

  1. Malnutrition
  2. Diabetes
  3. Smoking
  4. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  5. Obesity
  6. The previous history of Knee Surgery performed over the same knee.

Also, another factor affecting the healing of knee replacement incision is the length of the incision.

So if your knee doctor told you to control your blood sugar level or stop smoking before deciding on the final date for your Knee replacement surgery date, you know why.

I want to elaborate on 2 of the factors here:

Length of the Incision:

Depending on the type of Knee surgery, the length of the incision can be different for different individuals. Also, your body type determines the length. That is, if you are big or small makes a difference in incision length.

Also, if you had been previously operated on your same knee joint, you will have a higher chance of scarring after revised Knee surgery.

Phases of Incision healing

If you had arthroscopic surgery, ACL reconstruction or any Knee replacement, you would have an incision and subsequent scar. 

So let us understand the phases of normal incision healing:

  1. Inflammatory Phase: It usually lasts for a few days after surgery and appears to be red, inflamed, bruised and swollen. This is the time when proper Incision care needs to be taken.
  2. Proliferation Phase: New tissue is forming during this phase, and It lasts for 2-14 days after your surgery. Your incision might have some discharge, some warmth and also you might feel some numbness around your knee joint. Due to proliferation and new tissue forming, you might have bumpy raised incision. You should look out for potential Knee Replacement complications and refer to your doctor if you see any problem.
  3. Remodelling Phase: Lasts for months after your surgery. During this phase, normalcy begins to return, and things start to return normal with the normal-looking knee joint and typical healthy incision. However, during this phase, you should look for an excessive bigger incision due to excessive proliferation. It is called a Keloid. 

Tips for faster and optimal Scar recovery

Assuming you have no other potential Knee Replacement problems and you are doing well you can implement following lifestyle practices for optimal Scar recovery:

  1. Take proper incision care
  2. Drink Plenty of Water: Drinking enough water during the day helps with overall recovery and also incision healing. As we all know, you should have eight cups of water every day. You should talk to your doctor about liquid consumption if you have any health issues.
  3. Eat healthy food: Having a healthy diet will help you with faster knee incision recovery. Have enough calcium and Vitamin C, which is essential.
  4. Perform regular Knee Stretches: must be done to have good knee bend and the ability to walk well.
  5. Apply Vit-E lotion- Many patients have told me that applying Vit-E helps with the lighter color of the scar.
  6. Moisturise skin: Keep your skin well moisturized with a good moisturizer with good SPK rating.
  7. Scar tissue Massage: Since Scar tissue massage is essential, I have written about it here.


Hi all. Welcome to my website www.kneereplacementrehab.com. I am Ankur Desai, a licensed physiotherapist in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. I have a special interest in musculoskeletal Physical therapy and more so in Knee rehab.

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