Post-Operative Scar Care
Should you massage your scar?
YES, but wait until at least week 3 and discuss it with your surgeon first.
Scar massage has several important functions:
- It promotes collagen remodeling by applying pressure to the scars.
- It helps decrease itching.
- It provides moisture and pliability to the area.
Scar Massage Technique
Scar tissue massage should only commence when the stitches have been removed/dissolved, all scabs have disappeared and no weeping or heat is present. Usually after 2 weeks. Be sure your doctor is happy with the scar before you start as you may break down the tissue if you massage too early.
- Apply lotion to all scar areas once your surgeon has given you the ok.
- Massage the lotion in, applying enough pressure with the pads of your fingers to make the scar area white.
- Massage in all three directions:
- Circles (clockwise or counterclockwise)
- Vertical (up-and-down)
- Horizontal (side-to-side)
- Do this three times a day
Reasons for massage:
- Reduce sensitivity to the area
- Stimulate optimal tissue healing and prevent adhesions of superficial or deep tissues
- Regain range of motion.
The area around the scar may feel numb or have altered sensation or may even be painful. Gentle massage helps reduce this sensitivity.
Use non-perfumed creams such as sorbolene cream, Vitamin E or Bio-oil.
- Brush and stroke gently at first above and below the breast in a sweeping motion. Use the pads of your fingers for this.
- Then you can massage across the scar itself with one fingertip in a circular motion along the length of the scar, concentrating on areas of harder/tighter scar tissue.
- You can use any lotion that will make your skin soft
- You should avoid perfumed lotions,
- You don't necessarily need to use lotions containing aloe vera or vitamin E oil.
- MooGoo has been highly recommended by patients and can be purchased at most chemists and has no chemicals
This is a good sign that you are healing but can be very irritating. Cool compresses may help as can firm pressure with your fingers. DO NOT apply a heat pad or wheat bag as these can burn and blister the skin
Post Operative Swelling:
Swelling is a common complaint after breast surgery. For the most part, it is unavoidable. Remember that your body has been through major trauma with surgery .
An indicator of swelling is when a seam on your bra leaves a far deeper marks than just 'sheet marks' from simply wearing them.
Returning to normal activities:Do:
- Slowly build up the amount of weight you carry starting with your drains. Build up to 1-2 kg/L initially and gradually increase weight carried.
- If you’ve had a total mastectomy and tissue expanders inserted watch pushing open heavy doors or pushing shopping trolleys for first 2 weeks and keep arms at shoulder height.
- Gradually return to normal exercise such as tennis and gym work – seek your surgeon’s advice on when this is appropriate for your particular surgery.
- Ask your surgeon’s advice on when you can return to high impact exercise e.g. jogging.
- Try to use your arm as normal.