New technique helps reduce surgery scars

CENTER CITY - September 23, 2012

Jamie Howard, a physical therapist in Center City, says she's had success using the Graston technique.

It was first developed for athletes, to loosen muscles, tendons, and scar tissue under the skin. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is said to be a devotee.

Practitioners say it also works on the skin's surface.

"What we do is use the instruments to move the tissue, to mobilize the tissue, to break up the tangled protein in the tissue," said Howard.

Howard says Graston treatments don't take long, but they should be done twice a week for about 5 to 10 weeks for best results.

"It also increases your body temperature, it brings cells to the area, it brings blood flow, so it helps initiate a new healing process," she said.

Allan Ressler says it worked. He's been using it for two years after heart surgery left him with a red, lumpy track on his chest.

"Over time, it has been improving," said Ressler.

"The scar is softer, the pigmentation or the color of the scar improves," said Howard. In fact, many of her patients are now referred to her by heart specialists.

Howard also uses silicone strips to keep scars softened between treatments.

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