Massage therapy after brachioplasty?

I am 7 weeks out of Bracioplasty.. My arms are still tight, tender & fluid retention in inner elbows & also developing keloids. Ive been reading on scar or arm massage. Can you send a video or explain the correct way to do massage without aggrevating the condition. Also is it too early to start massage therapy?

Doctor Answers 5

Arm Lift/ Brachioplasty/Skin Tightening/ Body Contouring/ High Definition Procedures

I appreciate your question.

I would recommend that you discuss this question with your surgeon as every surgeon has their own respective post op protocol for his/her patients.  Your surgeon is your best resource as he/she is most familiar with your medical history and how you are healing at this time.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.

Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

#RealSelf100Surgeon

Massage after Brachioplasty

We often use lymphatic drainage after this type of surgery. You need to check with your surgeon as to whether they are happy for you to start this or not yet. Also check with them about the scars, you can try some silicone tape or might need an injection to help the keloid. Best to contact your surgeon to ask their advice on what is best.

Brachioplasty - what kind of massage?

Thank you for asking about your brachioplasty.
  • It should not be too early to start massage - but please have your surgeon's approval.
  • Silicone strips may help to flatten your scar. 
  • As may a compression sleeve
  • Massage doesn't work for everyone - 
  • There are many ways to do massage - e.g. rollers over the surgical area, massage from elbow up to arm pit.
  • Your surgeon may have a massage therapist s/he can recommend.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

The benefits of lymphatic massage after brachioplasty.

There are several benefits of having lymphatic massage after brachioplasty. It will improve circulation, decrease swelling, soften deep and superficial scar tissue, decrease tenderness. At 7 weeks, you are healed enough to start lymphatic massage therapy.  You can get few initial treatments by a professional therapist to get an idea of how to do it, and continue yourself at home. As your plastic surgeon if he or she has a good massage therapist that they will recommend.

Massage Therapy After Brachioplasties

Scars heal in a logarithmic and not linear fashion.  A wound is completely healed at 6 months, 90% healed at 3 months, and 75% healed at 6 weeks.  
Therefore, if you were my patient, I would recommend some form of stimulation to the blood supply to your upper arm between 4-6 weeks.  There is sufficient scar tissue to allow massage of one kind or another without disrupting the ongoing wound healing.  In my practice, we utilize ultrasound (the kind physical therapists use for sore muscles) and DMSO to take down swelling, bruising, and therefore to take the tension off the suture line.
Many patients confuse the term keloid (which is a genetic condition) with hypertrophic scarring which more often is due to excessive tension on a suture line.  More than likely, you actually have hypertrophic scarring since true keloid formation is relatively rare.  The hypertrophic scarring at suture lines may in fact be due to new collagen coming in.  Because there is no intact skin at the suture line to teach the collagen to come in flat, it instead comes in as whirls and swirls.  One useful trick to make these thickened scars lay flat is to use tape (steri strips) over the suture line lengthwise because this gives downward pressure helping the scars lay flat,  and since there is mastic on either side of the suture line, it also prevents scars spreading.  

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.