Surgery Aftercare: How to Massage Scar Tissue After Surgery

How best to massage scar tissue after surgery

One of the most commonly asked questions regarding healing after a procedure is “how to massage scar tissue after surgery?” During your pre-op consultation Mr Gary Ross will discuss the healing process with you, and one of the aspects is scar management.

Why do we get scars?

Everyone wants to heal quickly with as little scarring as possible, but this is usually inevitable. Scars are marks left on the skin where a wound has healed leaving behind fibrous tissue. Most scars fade in time but never fully disappear.

All cosmetic surgery comes with risk of scarring and this is detailed in your consultations before undergoing surgical procedures. You can, however, take some steps to improve the way a scar heals and changes over time. One of these is to massage scar tissue.

What does scar tissue massage mean?

Simply put, it’s a holistic method of improving the way a scar heals. It can be done at home, rather than in hospital or clinic, and is relatively straightforward. Your plastic surgeon can demonstrate some specific movements that may aid your understanding.

It’s often suggested after body contouring procedures including tummy tuck surgery, brachioplasty and thigh lifts, and in some cases facelifts.

Why does it help to massage scar tissue after surgery?  

Massaging scars can help to increase blood circulation which in turn can help speed up recovery time. Experts believe this also keeps the tissue pliable, which in turn prevents the scar from reopening or becoming ‘tight’.

What’s the right way to massage scar tissue after surgery?

When and how to specifically massage scar tissue in your individual case is something your plastic surgeon will discuss with you before and after your procedure. Below are three basic massage techniques that can be followed:

  • Use a circular motion

Rubbing the scar in a circular motion helps to promote fluid drainage. This is known as the lymph drainage technique and it helps to reduce any swelling on or around the scar tissue. It helps to drain excess fluid away from the area, which is common reason for swelling post operatively.

  • Rub the scar

Applying gentle pressure to the scar with your finger, you then rub in one direction in a smoothing action. For bigger scars you could use the palm of your hand to cover a greater area and save time. This purpose of this move is to break up excess collagen and fibrous tissue that may have formed. 

  • Stretch the skin

Stretching the skin way sound painful, but with gentle outward movements using your thumbs and circular motion this can keep your scar flexible. This is more effective if the scar is located on a joint.

Follow the advice of your plastic surgeon

While these tips can help to speed up scar healing time, it’s important to follow your practitioner’s advice, and do not massage deep scars, for example after tummy tuck surgery, until the wounds have completely healed.

Be safe: you may risk reopening the wounds if you attempt to massage scar tissue after surgery too soon, so seek advice before attempting scar tissue massage.

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Mill Lane, Cheshire SK8 2PX
The Christie Clinic
550 Wilmslow Road
Manchester, M20 4BX