Abdominal Scar Massage After DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

Marnie Rustemeyer CPCP, AAM Scar Massage DIEP Flap

DIEP flap breast reconstruction takes place along on the lower abdomen and typically leaves a scar. This type of abdominal scar is a great candidate for scar massage, which can help to keep the scar from becoming firm and assist in overall abdominal healing. You can start massaging your DIEP flap scar after surgery, after all sutures have been removed and all scabs have fallen off by themselves. Read on for some guidance on technique.

Apply a lotion or serum to the scar before you begin your massage.

Moisturization is an essential part of scar massage, even over areas with a bit more tissue beneath them, like the abdomen. Remember that scar massage is an exercise in breaking up scar tissue to improve the way a scar looks and feels. To do that, you must apply pressure to the area. It’s important to take care of the outermost layer of the skin as you disrupt the scar tissue.

Be deliberate about massaging your scar daily.

You should find time to massage your scar two to three times a day for ten minutes at a time. This repetitive action will help reduce excess collagen buildup. Take the time to ensure proper technique. Begin by running your fingertips back and forth over the length of the scar, applying light pressure in the beginning and working up to deeper, firmer pressure. Firm pressure will lighten or whiten the scar and the surrounding skin. Add small circles along the scar line. Then, use two fingers to make small circles along the scar and the surrounding area.

Let pain guide your technique.

Let your surgeon guide you as to when your scar is ready for massage. When you first start massaging your scar, it may initially be red and painful. At that point, it is often best to work around the scar, massaging the surrounding area. If you are comfortable, you can begin to pinch the area around the scar as tolerated. While scar massage is not always comfortable, you should not hurt yourself in the process.

Work the whole area whenever possible.

Abdominal scars have the benefit of underlying soft tissue, which tends to make them less noticeable and firm, as I mentioned in my general scar massage post. Working the whole abdomen during your massage can release tension in unexpected areas and help prevent or manage adhesions in other parts of the abdomen that are not directly beneath the visible scar.

If you missed the first part of my Cosmetic and Restorative Tattoo Series, take a look at the video included for instructions you can watch about how best to utilize the above techniques.

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