Scar Massage Tips and FAQs. Should I massage my scars after Breast Surgery?
Scarring is, unfortunately, an unavoidable part of most invasive surgeries like breast surgery. However, the degree of scarring can vary. The most significant impact on the level of scarring comes down to the skills of your surgeon.
The best plastic surgeons will be able to minimize scarring by making incisions in the natural folds of the breasts or in more discreet areas, to lessen the visibility of the scars.
Dr Craig Rubinstein, a Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne is an expert at the Lollipop or LeJour method for breast reduction and breast lift. Here are his scar massage tips and FAQs.
Breast Surgery Scars
Surgical incision scars leave a thin, raised line on top of your skin. Smaller-scar or larger-scar techniques can affect how scarring looks. The larger-scar anchor incision technique will leave three scars versus the two from the smaller-scar le jour or lollipop technique.
Benefits of Scar Massage
- Massaging your scar tissue helps the body to remove built-up collagen from the site, leaving the scar flatter to the surface of the skin.
- Repeated massaging can keep the scar supple and flexible. It is also an excellent way to help the scar remain moist, which aids the overall healing process.
- Scars are notoriously itchy. Massage can reduce this sensation without inflaming the affected area.
The Six Best Ways to Minimise Scarring
- Protect and support the healing area – wear your bandages as directed
- Use a compression bra or bandage
- Keep the wound area clean and sterile
- Protection your scar from too much sunlight
- Scar massage: it can be started about two weeks after surgery when the incision heals
- Consider using silicone sheets or gels
Caring for your scars after breast surgery
The following advice will help you on the road to recovery, in the best possible condition and with the best possible results.
- Avoid strain, stress and pressure on the stitches
- Avoid smoking and Avoid alcohol
- Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of healthy protein-rich food
- Soaking in the bath or going swimming should be avoided for several weeks until all the incisions have healed up fully
- Any strenuous activity should be avoided for a month after your operation
- Any sunbathing should be avoided until the incisions have completely healed up
- Wear your chest bandages and surgical bra until your surgeon says it is OK to stop wearing them
Scar Massage FAQs
Should you massage a surgery scar?
- You should massage your scars as instructed for at least six months following your surgery or injury. Massaging for more than six months will not hurt your scars and may actually prove beneficial. Just don’t start too early.
What does massaging a scar do?
- Massage can help to soften and flatten the scar tissue. Scar tissue may stick to the underlying muscles, tendons, blood vessels, nerves, and bones. Massage can prevent this from happening and helps to keep the scar tissue flexible. Scars may feel sensitive, tingle or hurt when touched.
When can you start massaging scars after surgery?
- You should start massaging your scars at least two weeks after surgery. Wait until the sutures have been removed and all scabs have fallen off by themselves.
How do you massage scar tissue after breast surgery?
- Put the flat part of your fingers on the scar
- Move the skin and tissue under the scar back and forth, holding for a few seconds
- Make sure you press enough to feel the scar “move” under your fingertips
- Move your fingers along to the next section of the scar, and repeat until you’ve massaged all along the scar
Can massaging a scar make it worse?
- If you massage your scar too early, it could cause the wound to tear or reopen, risking an infection. It’s therefore important to not begin massaging until the wound is fully healed.
How bad are scars after breast reduction surgery?
- It may take several months to a year for your scars to fade. Breast reduction scars shouldn’t be visible in a bikini top or a bra. With an anchor breast reduction, some scarring might show along the crease of the breasts in minimal clothing.
Can you massage out old scar tissue?
- A massage can do wonders for scar tissue. Your surgeon will use a series of deep tissue mobilization or myofascial release techniques to help reduce inflammation and encourage movement in the affected area. Massages can work for any type of scar tissue.
When can I start using scar cream after surgery?
- Scar cream is usually started 2 to 4 weeks after surgery; however, treatment can be initiated up to 6 months after suture removal.
What is the best scar cream for surgical scars?
Most oils are suitable for scar massage – we recommend a simple fractionated coconut oil or Bio Oil.
Test any oil on your normal skin to check for allergy – but you may consider:
- Honeydew Scar Cream
- Rosehip seed oil
Is coconut oil good for scars?
- Coconut oil provides a thick, hydrating layer on the skin as it heals. Such moisturizing may help with early scar treatment, especially when the damaged skin is dry. Another potential benefit of applying coconut oil to scars is that it may promote collagen production, which can encourage new tissue development. Coconut oil can also help even the skin tone, reducing any redness or discolouration caused by the scarring.
What is the best oil for healing scars?
we recommend a simple fractionated coconut oil or Bio Oil.
Test any oil on your normal skin to check for allergy – but you may consider:
- Helichrysum essential oil
- Frankincense essential oil
- Geranium essential oil
- Lavender essential oil
- Carrot seed essential oil
- Cedarwood essential oil
- Hyssop essential oil
- Tea tree oil
Is vitamin E good for scars?
- Vitamin E is the main lipid-soluble antioxidant in the skin. Several reports have suggested that topical use of vitamin E cream can reduce scar formation. Current evidence from the literature, however, does not support that proposition. In fact, studies report some adverse effects with the use of vitamin E.
Is Bio-oil good for scars?
- Bio‑Oil works with the help of multiple skin-smoothing ingredients such as Vitamin A (which helps with the formation of new collagen and skin renewal); Vitamin E (which protects skin from damage and premature aging); and PurCellin Oil (which smooths out skin). It can assist scar maturation.
How do you flatten a scar?
- Treatments include surgery to remove the scar, steroid injections, or silicone sheets to flatten the scar. Smaller keloids can be treated using cryotherapy (freezing therapy using liquid nitrogen). You can also prevent keloid formation by using pressure treatment or gel pads with silicone when you are injured. Treatment with Healite LED may also help to improve your scar results.
How long does it take for a scar to flatten?
- A minor wound like a cut will usually heal to leave a raised line, which will gradually fade and flatten over time. This process can take up to 2 years. The scar will not disappear completely and you’ll be left with a visible mark or line. Fine-line scars are common following a wound or after surgery.
Why does my scar feel tight?
- In scar tissue, collagen proteins grow in a single direction rather than in a multidirectional pattern, as they do in healthy skin. This structure makes scar tissue less elastic, which may cause it to feel tight or to restrict a person’s range of movement. Scar tissue may also form inside the body. Treatment with Healite LED may help to improve your scar results.
How do you fade surgical scars?
- There are many options like silicone wound treatment gels, steroid injections, massage, and prescription medications that can help make your scar less visible. Scars are also likely to fade over time.
What is best for scars?
- Methods for improving the appearance of scars include: Topical treatments, such as vitamin E, cocoa buttercream, and several commercial skincare products like Vaseline and Aquaphor that are sold over the counter may be somewhat effective in helping to heal scars.
What are the stages of scar healing?
- There are four main stages. The stages include:
- Stage 1: Stop the bleeding (hemostasis)
- Stage 2: Scabbing over (clotting)
- Stage 3: Rebuilding (growth and proliferative)
- Stage 4: Maturation (strengthening)
How long does it take for a scar to turn white?
- A scar can take up to 1 year to lose its color and turn white. That said, some scars turn into keloids which will remain red unless treated with cortisone injections &/or laser.
How long does it take for scar tissue to soften?
- Everyone is different and heals at different rates. In general, it takes about six to eight weeks to fully remodel injured tissue in the body.
When can I lift my arms after breast surgery?
- It will take about 10 days before you can lift your arms. And don’t lift, push, or pull anything heavier than 5 kgs for at least 7 days.
When can you start exercising after breast surgery?
- Typically, patients are cleared to resume normal exercises about four weeks after a breast surgery, but again this varies with each individual situation.
How long does it take for the swelling to go down after breast reduction?
- Postoperative swelling will be at its peak in the first week after surgery as the tissue and muscle heal. Swelling will begin to subside toward the end of week 1, but it will likely be from 6 to 12 months before you see the full and final results of your breast reduction surgery.
Can I wear a sports bra after breast surgery?
- After this period and as you continue to heal, you can start wearing regular bras; however, you must avoid underwire. An underwire bra will irritate the tissue and compromise your healing. Sports bras are naturally suited to post-operative care. All in all, sports bras are ideal for your breast reduction recovery time.
Does areola reduction leave scars?
- Areola reduction could leave scarring. However, the degree of scarring will depend on the technique used by the surgeon. If you are concerned about possible scars after the treatment, it is recommended to speak to the surgeon during your first consultation and convey your concerns.
Can you get a breast reduction without scars?
- A ‘scarless breast reduction’ is an option for patients who wish to decrease breast size without significant pain, scarring, and downtime. This procedure uses liposuction to remove excess fat from the breasts while leaving glandular tissue intact. This is only an option for a small percentage of patients, as it is only suited to younger patients, with good skin quality and overly fatty breasts. It is not an option for patients with excess skin, skin laxity or poor quality stretched skin.
What is the fastest way to recover from a breast surgery?
- Recline in the Proper Position :
- The position you sit and sleep in plays a part in keeping swelling down.
- It’s a good idea to keep your chest as elevated as possible during the first few weeks after surgery.
- Wear the Right Kind of Bra Properly:
- After your surgery, wear some sort of compression garment.
- Immediately after the procedure, the surgical area will most likely be bandaged and wrapped in gauze.
- Once the bandages are removed, wear a soft, but supportive bra, such as a wireless sports bra.
- Handling Pain and Discomfort
- Every patient handles pain differently. If you find the pain overly unpleasant, you can ask your surgeon for a prescription-strength pain reliever.
- Eat Simple, Unprocessed Real Foods and Drink Plenty of Water.
- Keep Clean With Limitations:
- Washing earlier by taking sponge baths for the first few days or weeks after the procedure, to avoid getting the incision areas wet.
- Your surgeon will let you know when it is okay to begin taking showers again.
- Keep physical activity to a minimum during the first few weeks.
Medical References and Further Reading about Scar Massage
- MyHealth.Alberta.ca – Scar massage
- Moffitt Cancer Center – Managing Your Scar
- Verywell Health – Scar Tissue Massage and Management
- Bio-Oil Professional – The why, when and how of scar massage
- Fairview – Mastopexy (Breast Lift)
About Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Craig Rubinstein FRACS is one of Melbourne’s Best Specialist Plastic Surgeons for breast and tummy surgery.
He has been rated as a Top 3 Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne and rated a Top 5 Plastic Surgeon on the ‘Best in Australia’ website.
Dr Rubinstein offers women personalised tummy surgery and all forms of cosmetic breast surgery.
He uses only the highest quality Motiva breast implants and is renowned for his natural-looking, long-lasting results.
BOOK A CONSULTATION TODAY 1300 264 811
Next Steps in Your Surgical Journey
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About Your First Consultation
- Dr Rubinstein’s Consultation fee is $300.
- A referral from your GP or your specialist is helpful but not essential.
- You need a medicare referral in order to claim any medicare benefits or Health Insurance for plastic surgery,
- Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery today to book your consultation.
What to Bring to your Consultation
- You are more than welcome to bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
- Ensure you also take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents provided.
- Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes.
*Disclaimer: Individual results can vary significantly from patient to patient. The information we provide is general. For further information on what to expect for your preferred procedures, arrange to see one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons for a full history and surgical consultation. Read further information about surgical outcome variability on our Disclaimer page.