1. Middie
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    Middie Member

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    Would scars disappear in this case?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Middie, Jun 20, 2016.

    In a story I'm writing, one of the characters has accelerated healing abilities, and doesn't scar since any injuries he gets heal pretty much right after. Without going into too much detail and making this unnecessarily long, he basically loses these abilities for a while, and ends up with a scar from that time before he gets them back.

    So, what I'm wondering is this: if this character were to get injured in that same spot, and it healed right after since he has his accelerated healing abilities back, would the scar tissue still be there? I know this could probably just be up to me, since I'm the one making the rules for this accelerated healing ability, but from a medical standpoint: would the old scar tissue remain if someone were to get injured where they have a scar, but heal well enough so that the new injury doesn't scar? Or is there really no real-life case where that would happen?
     
  2. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    I don't think there's really areal-life analog, but I'd say that if he got injured in the same place - like, the existing scar tissue was actually destroyed - then fresh skin would replace the scar tissue. Or he could still have some scar tissue, but it'd be disrupted and not look like the old wound anymore, if not all the old scar tissue was messed up.

    But I'd also think that once he got his powers back, his body would automatically 'fix' the old scar if that's what it normally does, right? Depending on how you justify his healing factor thing.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You are writing a fantasy story. It can be whatever you want it to be. Normally though, scar tissue is when the epidermis is replaced by connective tissue. So injuring the connective
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You are writing a fantasy story. It can be whatever you want it to be. Normally though, scar tissue is when normal epidermis is replaced by connective tissue. So injuring the connective tissue is not going to be replaced by epidermis.
     
  5. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    As the others have said, it's fantasy so do whatever works for you, but assuming his 'accelerated healing ability' is exactly that (i.e. the same as everyone else's healing, except faster)...

    Wound healing is complex - there are several different approaches the body takes depending on the type of injury present. As @GingerCoffee said, scars are connective tissue rather than the same functional tissue that would ideally replace what is lost. They tend to occur when a wound doesn't neatly hold together, or when complications (such as infection) occur during the healing process. A bit like the body going, 'This is too hard. I'm gonna half-arse it, and at least there will be something holding things together, even if it's not ideal.'

    Generally once that connective tissue is there, outside of intervention, it's there for good. Cosmetic surgeons can get rid of scars by getting rid of the connective tissue (basically cutting out the scar), and then creating a new wound that can be closed neatly (e.g. 'primary closure' vs 'secondary intention' if you want some search terms) and managed to avoid complications. To some extent, the skill of the surgeon governs how aesthetically the wound will heal (although as stated, it varies hugely with the type of wound, e.g. if you've had open-heart surgery, you're probably going to have scars on your chest). Look up 'Halsted's principles' if you want an idea of the things a skillful surgeon considers.

    So it would be possible to reheal without scarring if the repeat injury obliterated the original scar and the wound was pulled together nicely and kept clean. Much more likely if the repeat injury involves something like a fine, sharp, clean knife; much less likely if it involves grazing away a bunch of tissue on dirty asphalt!

    Another possibility is that you could give the character 'enhanced' rather than 'accelerated' healing abilities. The connective tissue in scars mostly comprises a particular structural chemical called collagen. Collagen exists in fibres and there are lots of sub-types of it. Collagen is present in the majority of other tissues in the body too, but the sub-type present varies, as does the arrangement in which the fibres are laid out. In scars, there is a particular subtype, generally densely packed, and in a fairly random arrangement (after all, the body is just filling a gap without much care for function). In other tissues, collagen gets converted between subtypes and rearranged to suit purpose. So perhaps this character's body has the ability to convert and rearrange his scar-collagen where other people don't. Once the appropriate 'collagen scaffolding' is in place, the other normal tissue components could move in and do their thing. So maybe the character's scar slowly (or quickly!) fades away to normal.

    That's all pretty technical, and I wouldn't expect your story to explain things in that level of detail. I'm just trying to give you fuel for your own ideas :) Good luck!
     
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  6. Middie
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    Middie Member

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    Thanks for all the help! I know I won't have to go into too much detail, but I always like to consider what would happen realistically, and then build off of that to make even "magical" abilities have some sort of basis in reality. I also find that I'll avoid contradicting myself later on if I get the details down and understand the process (even if those details don't make it into the story), so all this information is really helpful :)
     
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