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When should I start massaging my breast lift scars?

Getting a breast lift can help restore a more youthful contour to the breasts. While the procedure produces excellent results overall, it does leave behind scars on the breast. Proper scar care is important to help minimize the appearance of scars and help them fade over time. When is the right time to start massaging breast lift scars? Here is a look at some important factors to consider.

Let the incisions fully close

It’s crucial not to start massaging the incisions too early while they are still healing and susceptible to opening back up. Doing so can interfere with the natural healing process. Typically, your surgeon will use sutures that take 2-3 weeks to dissolve. You’ll want to wait until all the sutures have fully dissolved and the incision lines have completely sealed up before massaging.

During the initial weeks after surgery, you’ll focus on allowing the incisions to heal and close up properly. Your surgeon will advise you on how to care for the incisions during this time, which usually involves keeping them clean and dry. Any ointments or dressings applied should be done according to your surgeon’s instructions.

Massage should be avoided until your post-op check-up when your surgeon gives you the go-ahead to start. This is usually around 3-4 weeks after surgery when the incisions have had time to properly heal.

When discomfort and tightness subsides

Typically within the first month after a breast lift, there will still be some residual pain, discomfort, and tightness around the incision sites and breasts as the skin adjusts to the lift. As the weeks progress, this subsides. Massaging too early can increase discomfort so it’s best to hold off until your breasts are no longer tender.

Many patients report that their breasts feel tight or swollen during the initial weeks. Your surgeon may recommend wearing a support bra to help minimize swelling and provide comfort while healing. Once your breasts no longer feel overly sensitive or tight, this is a good indicator it may be time to start massage techniques.

When your surgeon approves massage

Ultimately, the best gauge of when to start massaging breast lift scars is the timeline provided by your cosmetic surgeon. Based on your unique healing process and recovery, your surgeon will assess your progress at follow-up appointments and advise you on when massage can commence.

Generally, around 3-6 weeks post-op, your surgeon will determine your incisions have healed enough and the skin has stabilized so that gentle massage can begin. However, your individual timeline may be slightly shorter or longer.

It’s imperative to get the green light from your surgeon before starting any massage techniques or using any scar treatment products like gels or oils on the incisions. Doing so prematurely could interfere with healing.

Use caution when massaging certain incision types

The technique used for your breast lift will determine the location and pattern of scars left on your breasts. An around-the-areola lift creates a scar along the circumference of the areola. A vertical lift adds a scar from the bottom of the areola to the breast crease. An anchor lift combines around-the-areola and vertical scarring with an additional scar along the breast crease.

Incisions made around the thinner skin of the areola often heal quickly and tend to fade well on their own. But vertical and anchor lift scars may benefit more from massage. Use care when massaging incisions near the areola, as the skin here is delicate.

How to massage breast lift scars

Once your incisions have healed and your surgeon has approved moving forward, you can begin gently massaging the scars. Here are some tips for effective massage techniques:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before massage to avoid infection.
  • Apply a small amount of moisturizer, vitamin E oil, or scar massage cream to your fingertips.
  • Use your fingertips to gently rub the scarred areas using circular motions.
  • Apply firm but gentle pressure to the length of the scars.
  • Massage for 5-10 minutes twice daily.
  • Always massage with the direction of the scar, not across it.

In addition to using your fingers, your surgeon may recommend medical-grade silicone scar sheets to help minimize scarring. These can be worn over the incisions and use light compression to flatten and fade scars.

When to massage for how long

Once your breast lift scars are ready for massage, aim to massage them two times per day for 5-10 minutes per session. Consistency is key for seeing results. Massage may be continued for several months as it can take over a year for scars to fully mature.

Over time, massage can help soften and flatten thickened scars and break up scar tissue. The increased blood circulation induced helps to remodel collagen fibers in the skin for smoother, thinner scars that blend with the surrounding breast skin.

Benefits of scar massage

When performed properly and at the right time, scar massage offers many benefits for breast lift patients including:

  • Helps scars fully mature and remodel
  • Softens and reduces thickness of scars
  • Increases blood flow and circulation to scarred skin
  • Minimizes buildup of inflexible scar tissue
  • Flattens and smooths bumpy or uneven scars
  • Fades discoloration and redness of scars
  • Improves mobility and reduces tightness of scars

Know when to avoid massage

While massaging scars at the appropriate time can improve their appearance, attempting massage too soon can be problematic. Avoid massage if:

  • Incisions have not fully closed
  • Sutures are still present
  • Breasts are still swollen, tender, or uncomfortable
  • Your surgeon has not approved moving forward with massage

Scar massage should never be painful. Ease up on pressure if massaging causes discomfort until the tenderness subsides.

Turn to your surgeon if you have concerns

Your plastic surgeon wants you to end up with the most minimal scarring possible after a breast lift. Follow their instructions carefully on when to start massage. During follow-up appointments, do not hesitate to point out any specific spots on your scars that appear thickened, raised, or discolored so these can be properly addressed.

While patience is required for scars to fully mature, certain types of problematic scars may require medical treatment like steroid injections or laser therapy. Your surgeon can determine the best options if you develop any hypertrophic scars that remain angry or red beyond 6 months post-op.

Be diligent with at-home scar care

In addition to massage, follow your surgeon’s at-home scar care protocols including:

  • Use any recommended silicone sheets, ointments, or gels
  • Keep your scars hydrated with moisturizer
  • Avoid exposing scars to sunlight
  • Wear sunscreen on your scars if going outside

Follow all your surgeon’s guidelines for scar care to help maximize your results over time.

What results can I expect from scar massage?

When incorporated into your post-op regimen at the right time and performed properly, scar massage can make a significant difference in your long-term results. Scars that are massaged typically end up flatter, paler, softer, and less conspicuous compared to unmassaged scars.

However, every patient heals differently. Even with diligent massage, some patients are just prone to more visible scarring. Have realistic expectations for the extent of improvement.

While rarely perfect, with time and care most breast lift scars do fade and smooth out well, becoming far less noticeable. Your surgeon can recommend further treatments if scarring remains persistently thick or discolored.


Massaging your incisions is an integral part of your breast lift aftercare. However timing is crucial. Allow your sutures to fully dissolve and breasts to stabilize initially after surgery before commencing massage techniques. Following your surgeon’s advice on when your incisions are ready for massage helps ensure your scars heal optimally for the most discreet results.