Massage after breast augmentation surgery can help speed healing of the incision and help produce the best outcome. Whether massage is advisable after breast augmentation surgery depends on the type of implant used and your physician's preference. Not all cosmetic surgeons recommend massage. Those who do recommend it feel that it reduces the growth of a scar tissue capsule around the implant. Keeping scar tissue at a minimum helps to keep the breasts soft and flexible.
The purpose of massage after breast augmentation is to prevent the formation of excessive scar tissue, both in the incision and around the implant. Your body's natural response to the presence of a foreign body is to stimulate the growth of scar tissue. Your body wants to encapsulate any foreign bodies to prevent damaging microorganisms from entering further into the body. Your body experiences the incision as an injury, and sends fiber cells to the area of the incision to repair the damage. White blood cells are rushed to the area and they help to mop up the damage done by the incision.
Lymph drainage massage, which is a soft circular massage of the skin and the tissue immediately under it where a majority of lymph vessels are located, reduces swelling and speeds healing of damaged tissues. More aggressive massage techniques are used to move the implant and keep the tissue surrounding the implant soft and flexible. Begin self-massage by warming and applying a moisturizing cream or lotion. Massage gently in circles moving around the breast tissue from the edges to the nipple. As you massage, the skin will relax and feel warmer and softer. Eventually you will be able to feel deeper tissues through the skin. Press and stretch any tissue that feels hard and immovable. Then wrap your hand around the bottom of the breast and squeeze, moving the implant upward in its pocket. You cannot break the implant, so don't be afraid to use firm pressure. Repeat two or three times a day as long as your physician recommends.
Be sure to discuss massage with your surgeon before attempting it. Some implants are meant to adhere to surrounding tissue and massaging after your surgery would be counterproductive. Do not begin massage before the incision heals, to avoid opening the incision and causing an infection. Ask your surgeon or surgical nurse for a demonstration of the proper massage techniques. If your breasts are not exactly even after the surgery, massage more deeply above the higher breast to help it drop to the level of the lower breast. If you feel that the implant is hardening, be sure to see your surgeon as soon as possible. Tell your surgeon whether one breast seems firmer than the other one, if you experience tightness and pain, or if the position of the nipple changes.
Ramona French owned a massage school and taught massage for 28 years. In that time she wrote textbooks on Swedish, acupressure, deep tissue and lymph drainage massage. She is the author of "Introduction to Lymph Drainage Massage" and "Milady's Guide to Lymph Drainage Massage." Her book, "The Complete Guide to Lymph Drainage Massage," published by Milady, was released in October 2011.