Massage Helps Prevent Scar Tissue Buildup After Surgery

Surgery Scar Treatment

Scar formation is a natural part of the healing process after any surgical procedure.

But if left untreated, scars can have several long-term side effects.

The most visible side effect is aesthetic. Large build-ups of scar tissue can be unsightly and even potentially embarrassing, depending on the location.

Yet scars can also have long-term physical repercussions, including discomfort, itching, stiffness, and limited mobility. In some cases, too much scar tissue can actually undermine the results of the surgical procedure.

Addressing the buildup of scar tissue during the healing process can help avoid many of these long-term issues.

One of the most effective methods of reducing the buildup of scar tissue is a specialized form of massage known as manual lymphatic drainage. Incorporating this massage technique into your recovery routine after surgery can effectively prevent the buildup of excessive and unsightly scar tissue.

What is Scar Tissue?

Scar tissue is the body’s way of naturally rebuilding itself after an injury. The development of scar tissue is a slow process occurring over weeks, months, and even potentially years after the injury occurred.

The extent of scarring often depends on the type and location of the wound, how long it takes for the wound to heal, and the patient’s age, general health, and skin type.

Generally speaking, scar tissue develops in three distinct phases:

  • Inflammation: The inflammatory system is the body’s first line of defense against injury, and the first on the scene to begin healing. During this phase, the body will attempt to clear away old and damaged tissue. The scar will appear swollen, red, and tender. This phase usually lasts about two weeks.
  • Proliferation: Once the damage tissue has been cleared out, the body will begin to regrow new tissue by creating new collagen fibers, which help give the skin its strength, shape, and flexibility. Unfortunately, during this phase, the collagen fibers are created in random shapes and bunches, instead of neatly aligned as normal. This creates the appearance of a raised, rigid, and red scar. This phase usually lasts about six weeks.
  • Remodeling: This final phase of scar development can last up to 12-18 months as abnormal collagen is gradually, albeit incompletely, replaced with normal collagen. Over time, the scar becomes mature, softening and flattening into its permanent appearance.

How Does Massage Help Reduce Scarring?

Massage can reduce, or even prevent, the abnormal buildup of scar tissue by gently manipulating it as it forms. While massage can’t prevent the body from building new collagen strands, it can help align those collagen fibers into a more regular alignment, prevent them from hardening, and improve the flexibility and range of motion in the tissues near the scarring.

For massage to be effective in preventing the buildup of scar tissue, it must be started immediately, as soon as possible after surgery. Scars over two years old cannot be altered through massage. Moreover, the massage will be most effective in combatting scarring if started as soon as the scar tissue begins to form.

Manual lymphatic drainage is a specialized form of massage appropriate for before and after surgery. In addition to reducing the buildup of scar tissue, manual lymphatic drainage can also reduce post-surgical swelling, help minimize pain and discomfort, boost your immune system to spark your body’s natural healing processes, and even reduce post-surgical stress and anxiety.

Manual lymphatic drainage is increasingly being recognized as playing an important role in recovery from many surgical procedures. If your surgeon has not recommended advanced lymphatic massage for your recovery, ask them if it may be appropriate as part of your recovery routine.

Always be sure to follow your surgeon’s directions for your recovery as closely as possible, and if you do choose manual lymphatic drainage, be sure to choose a licensed massage therapist who has the advanced training needed to perform this specialized technique.

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In Home or In Office Massages by Jakki in the Greater Orlando / Central Florida area. Certified for many different massages and treatments. Specializing in Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) post surgery recovery massage.

To schedule an appointment with Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Advanced Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapist, Jakki Bosco LMT, please call (813) 298-5603.   We believe nothing is more important than human touch.

Providing massage services to patients in Orlando FL, Windermere, Clermont, Winter Garden, Dr. Phillips, Kissimmee, Apopka, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs and surrounding areas.

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