Internal scar tissue is scar tissue which forms inside the body. You may also hear internal scar tissue referred to as internal adhesions or just adhesions. Depending on where a scar forms, it may present no medical problems, or it may lead to serious health issues. For severe adhesions, patients may require surgery.
Scars are the body's response to injury. When the body is injured, it attempts to repair the injured site as quickly as possible. With a mild injury, the body may be able to restore the tissue to its previous state. More commonly, the tissue is replaced with an inferior barrier of scar tissue which cannot fully replace the missing tissue. Scars are often poorly supplied with blood, which is why they appear more pale than the surrounding tissue.
Inside the body, internal scar tissue forms as a result of trauma. Surgery is a common cause of adhesions, and they can also be the result of heart attacks, which cause scarring of the heart muscle, along with severe injuries like torn muscles and ligaments. Inflammatory disease can also cause internal scar tissue. In some instances, internal scar tissue goes unnoticed by its owner, illustrating the body's ability to repair itself fairly neatly when it is in good health.
In other cases, however, internal scar tissue forms an adhesion. An adhesion is a bond between two things which were not previously joined. For example, an adhesion could cause an organ to attach to the wall of the abdominal cavity, or it could lead to an obstruction of the bowel. Adhesions are often quite painful, because they restrict the freedom of movement of the organ or organs involved. Adhesions caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, for instance, can cause twisting of the reproductive organs, resulting in severe pain and fertility issues.
Surgical techniques have advanced to the point where adhesions are relatively rare, thanks to tools like adhesion barriers. Internal scar tissue can still be caused by things like sporting accidents and diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, however. Chronic conditions are more likely to cause internal scar tissue and adhesions, and it is a good idea to talk to a doctor about getting these conditions under control and to talk about possible treatments for the resulting internal scars, ranging from steroid shots to surgery.
Doctors can check for adhesions with tools like ultrasound machines. Depending on the thickness of an adhesion, it may show up readily on an ultrasound, or it may present as a cloudy shape. Once a doctor has confirmed that adhesions exist and gauged their severity, treatment options can be considered.