Scar massage is one of the most commonly recommended treatments in scar management.
One of the side effects of surgery (including cosmetic) is the formation of scar tissue. This is a normal healing response. By applying mechanical forces to the skin, a number of biological events are triggered including:
increased blood flow
hormonal release e.g. oxytocin
activation of molecular signalling within the scar, which aids in remodelling of the scar structure
What does treatment look like?
There are a variety of methods in clinical practice that vary extensively depending on the exact type and maturity of the scar that is being treated. Treatment can look different for each patient and caters to their needs from their particular surgery.
For younger immature scars, movements of low intensity and frequency are recommended. Often treatment will include lymphatic drainage, along with slow and low pressure massage techniques in the area of the scar.
Older mature scars can be treated with deeper soft tissue mobilisation techniques.
What scar features indicate that massage may be beneficial?
Tethering or Roping: scar mobilisation may loosen scars, which are firmly attached to underlying or surrounding soft tissues and structures
Pain, Hypersensitivity + Itch: scar massage may improve such troublesome symptoms
Tightness, discomfort when stretching: soft tissue manipulation may soften scars and increase pliability
Bulk: scar massage may help flatten certain bulky scars; nevertheless, keloid scars are unlikely to benefit
Check in with your doctor to see if they recommend Scar Tissue Massage as part of your wellness and recovery plan.
Benefits of Post-Operative Treatments
In the treatment, a combination of massage, lymphatic drainage, mobility techniquess, and cupping may be used. The treatment plan will be discussed with the patient prior to each session.
Some benefits of post-operative scar massage may include:
help reduce scar characteristics including tethering, tightness, pain itch and hypersensitivity
improved scar tissue mobility and less thickening
quicker healing times
reduction in musculoskeletal pain
improved circulation (blood and lymph)
decrease levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and blood glucose levels.
Talk with your Doctor First
Be sure to check with your healthcare provider or surgeon to ensure that your scar is properly healed before having a scar tissue massage. Massaging a scar that is not fully healed can damage the developing scar tissue, which can delay healing.