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How to Massage Yourself After Plastic Surgery

When you decide to undergo a plastic surgery procedure, the most difficult part just might be waiting to see the final result that you’ve been anticipating for so long. While we wish we could expedite the recovery process so that all of our patients could get there even faster, the truth is that those weeks that follow your procedure are essential to achieving an amazing result—and what you do during that time plays a big role.

One aspect of this is massage. After your procedure, you’ll receive complete guidance from our team about managing your recovery, including recommendations on how to massage yourself depending on your procedure. From incisional massage to improve the look of your scars, to breast massage that helps your implants settle, there are different techniques that will help improve your outcomes.

Here’s some of the guidance we provide our patients. Wherever you choose to have your surgery, it’s essential to always follow the advice of your surgeon throughout your recovery.

Massaging Implants After Breast Augmentation

YouTube video

This information is intended exclusively for patients at The Plastic Surgery Clinic.
It should not be considered as medical advice for anyone who has not been under our care.

At the 2-week mark after your breast augmentation surgery, you’ll be taught how to massage your breasts post-procedure. The purpose of massage in this case is to encourage your implants to settle and soften. This is part of what’s known as the “drop and fluff” phenomenon.

Your surgeon wants you to massage your breasts for 5 minutes at a time, 10 times a day. This works out to roughly once every hour. You’ll apply pressure inwards, outwards, upwards and downwards. Applying a good amount of pressure is really important to this process. If it hurts a little, that’s okay and in fact is totally normal.

You’ll continue this daily massage practice until your doctor lets you know that it’s ok to stop.

Incisional Massage for Surgical Scars

YouTube video

This information is intended exclusively for patients at The Plastic Surgery Clinic.
It should not be considered as medical advice for anyone who has not been under our care.

We want to help you ensure that you’re left with the best looking scar possible. When we’ve determined that you’ve reached the appropriate  moment in your recovery process and that your tissue is ready for it, you will be advised to begin applying a silicone bandage over your scar, which you’ll wear all the time.

You’ll wear this waterproof silicone bandage 24 hours a day for around 4-6 months, and you’ll only need to change it about once a week.

Typically around 6-weeks after your surgery, you’ll be asked to begin massaging your incisions. To do this, you will push directly over the silicone into the incision. You might feel or hear some popping, which can seem kind of alarming, but it’s actually completely normal and happens as a result of your dissolvable stitches.

You’ll need to apply around a 6/10 out of pressure, so don’t be alarmed if it hurts a little or feels uncomfortable. The pressure is necessary as the purpose of incisional massage is to get the silicone right into the scar. And by helping to break up the dissolving stitches under the skin, the incision can smooth out beautifully and help soften the scar tissue.

How to Massage After a Tummy Tuck

YouTube video

This information is intended exclusively for patients at The Plastic Surgery Clinic.
It should not be considered as medical advice for anyone who has not been under our care.

Because a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) achieves some of the most transformative results of any procedure we perform, it’s among the more invasive, meaning the recovery can be a little more intensive. But you’ve got this!

Around one week after your procedure, we’ll ask you to massage 3 times a day for 5 minutes at a time. Massage is essential here as it allows you to mobilize fluid and swelling that builds up in the tissue. The more swelling we have, the more scar tissue we form, so we really want swelling to disperse that you can heal faster.

As you’re still healing, this massage can feel uncomfortable at times. That’s totally normal but should not discourage you from continuing your massage routine. If you don’t do it, you can fall into a cycle of swelling and scar tissue development that is difficult to reverse. Future you will thank you for sticking with it (and probably won’t even remember they discomfort).

To perform your massage, you’ll either remove compression garment, or peel it down. You can apply arnica gel to your fingers and massage directly into the areas excluding the incisions. Don’t be afraid to push hard, and keep in mind that it’s supposed to be a bit uncomfortable. It’s important to massage firmly into all of the lumps and bumps, which are the areas you really want to focus on. If you feel a lump, get in there!

Scar tissue builds to its highest point at around 3 months post-surgery. You might be feeling great after a few weeks (we love that) but it’s still super important to continue with your massage for the entire duration your surgeon sets out. Scar tissue can still be building up, even though you don’t know it.

And don’t forget about your belly button–there is an incision there, and massage will help to soften it and prevent it from feeling too tight. In the video above, Nurse Lori demonstrates exactly how it’s done.

Your doctor will advise you when it’s okay to stop massaging, and this could be several months after your procedure. After a surgery like a tummy tuck, it’s not uncommon for swelling to appear months later as a result of increases in your activity levels, or other factors like increases in temperatures outside. Bouts of swelling 12 or even 16 months after surgery are totally normal, but don’t worry, it will get better. It just takes time and patience.

Massaging After Liposuction & BBL

YouTube video

This information is intended exclusively for patients at The Plastic Surgery Clinic.
It should not be considered as medical advice for anyone who has not been under our care.

One week after liposuction or Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) surgery you’ll be asked to start massaging your liposuction sites 3 times a day for 5 minutes each time. Nurse Lori demonstrates what this massage technique should look like above.

Exactly like with the tummy tuck, massage is important here as it will help mobilize the fluid and swelling that tends to build up and can ultimately cause the formation of more scar tissue. As with all of these forms of massage, it may feel a bit uncomfortable, but that is to be expected. Don’t forget that it’s helping you achieve the best result possible.

Again, you will need to continue this process for as long as your doctor tells you that it’s necessary, which can sometimes take several months.

With every procedure, sun protection for your scars is very important. If you expose a post-operative scar to the sun during recovery, they can tan and become permanently hyperpigmented. To prevent this from happening, make sure that your scars are covered up using either scar tape or sufficiently protective clothing. If they’re going to be exposed, make sure you apply sunscreen early and often during the healing period.

This may be necessary for a period of 6 to 12 months, but paying attention to scars in this early period will allow you to achieve great outcomes and prevent any of these unwanted issues.

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