Cicatrix is the fibrous tissue left after the healing of a wound, or more simply a scar. This may be on the surface of the body as cutaneous scarring or internal involving scarring of the organs.
The word scar evolved from the Greek word eschara, meaning fireplace. Traditionally the fireplace was situated in the middle of the house and it was around this that most domestic activities took place. It was the center of family life and an area where children gathered to be with family. As a result it was the location of many injuries, many of which resulted in scarring. In fact the injuries were so common that they became named after their cause.
Cicatrix – Italian in Origin
The use of the term spread and on reaching Italy became known as cicatrix. From Italy the word spread to France where it was known as eschare. The term eschare now means crust covering an ulcer.
The origin of the word cicatrix dates back to the middle ages where the term was widely used to describe any unnatural white mark on the skin. The conditions of scleroderma, morphea and “white spot” disease as well as leukonychia, the white spots appearing on the toenails were all described using the term cicatrix. (Montgomery, 1939).
Today the term scar is commonly used to describe the final outcome of tissue repair in mammals. It is most commonly used to describe repair of the skin where fibrous growth occurs in response to tissue injury.
Although the term cicatrix has the same meaning as scar in today’s language its usage is far less common.
Scarring beautiful or disfiguring
Like the word the importance of the scar or cicatrix dates back many years. Some primitive tribes use scarring as a form of beautification or ornamentation. However most societies consider scarring as disfiguring and surgeons are continually striving to lessen the scarring that occurs during surgery or in the repair of wounds.
In 1968 Fitzgibbon stated “By your scars you will be judged.”