FTM/N Top Surgery & Post-operative Scar Massage

Scar massaging is a popular topic when discussing double incision bilateral mastectomy and other transmasculine chest reconstruction procedures. There is a divergence of opinion among FTM/N top surgeons as well as patients when it comes to whether you should or should not massage scars, when you can start, and what method of massaging you should take (using oils, or not).

It’s important to note that aggressive massaging can actually widen the scars. If your skin is adhering (feels glued) against your chest wall, or if a particular area of tissue deep to the skin is firm, then scar massage might be beneficial. If this occurs then it might be helpful for you to massage that particular area 3 times a day for 5 minutes. The rest of this article will cover the basics to get you started in your own decision process.

Why Do Scars Form After FTM/N Top Surgery?

Scars occur when a protein called collagen forms over an incision as it heals. Many factors determine the healing and appearance of top surgery incision scars such as sun exposure, range of motion with your first 6 months post op, age, whether you smoke and diet. It’s important to note that the final appearance of your incision lines/scar may not reveal itself entirely until about 12-18 months.

Benefits of Scar Massaging on Your FTM/N Top Surgery Incision Lines

It’s best to speak to your FTM/N top surgeon about what they recommend as each surgeon has their own method and advice. Massage is easy to do at home, economical, and has very few side effects. Research is limited, but there is evidence that massage may benefit post-surgical healing. Massaging your scars can also:

  • Increase blood circulation to the area and speed the healing process
  • Aide in sensitivity
  • Relieve pressure on the scar tissue as it removes toxins and excess fluid
  • Improve scar elasticity and break up excess collagen
  • It can gently smooth the tissue along the incision line, getting the tissue to form next to the incision instead of across it
  • When combined with topicals, it can be a good way to keep the scar tissue hydrated

Does scar massaging ensure that your top surgery results will be impeccable? No, but it doesn’t hurt if done properly and is worth trying.

When to Start Massaging Your FTM/N Top Surgery Scars

As stated previously many FTM/N top surgery doctors have their own methods and advice, so it’s best to talk to yours to see what they recommend. Commonly, you can begin gently moving the tissue as soon as the stiches are removed (or have dissolved). Remember that aggressive massaging can actually cause widening of the scars.

FTM/N Scar Massaging: Things to Consider Before Starting

Remember to speak to your FTM/N top surgeon before starting. Our advice is to not massage scars until they are fully closed and healed, and proceed slowly. Don’t over-do movement or massage, especially if prone to hypertrophic scarring. You can look into Dr. Mosser’s additional recommended methods of scar care, and consults him with follow up questions. There are also massage therapist who specializes in post-operative scar care.

Instructions on How to Massage Your FTM/N Top Surgery Scars

The overarching goal of scar massaging is to the incision heal in a thinner line with less redness. When you feel that your skin is beginning to adhere against your chest wall then this would be a good time to start massaging your scars. The massaging is intended to help keep the tissue more mobile.

Step 1: Rub the scar in a circular motion and with mild pressure to help minimize swelling and the drain excess fluids surrounding the scar tissue.

Step 2: Gently rub the surrounding skin in a circular motion to keep your scar flexible and unrestricting. You can do this up to 3 times a day for 5 minutes at a time.

Step 3: Apply pressure to your scar with your finger or thumb and rub in one direction to break up excess collagen and adhesions.

Step 4: Apply lotions or oils when massaging to keep the scar hydrated. When a scar is overly dry, it can break open and cause new sores to form. Be sure to consult your FTM/N top surgeon on what they recommend you use.  Limited research on over-the-counter topical treatments such as Arnica Cream or Gel revealed limited effectiveness. However, some folks have reported that it helped them a lot.

FTM/N Top Surgery Scar Massage: Tip & Tricks

  • Start slowly and gently
  • Remember to lift the scar from the underlying tissue so that it doesn’t adhere to it. This helps with mobility
  • Stop massaging if you feel any tenderness or discomfort
  • Massaging can help with skin sensitivity, healing and sometimes helps with reconnecting you with a new part of your body

Post-Operative Top Surgery Scar Massaging in Conclusion

  • Be sure to speak to your FTM/N top surgeon before committing to a scar massaging regime
  • You can begin massaging normally 2 weeks after surgery and after the stiches have been removed or dissolved
  • Scar massaging can help the incision heal in a thinner line with less redness. But this is also not guaranteed
  • There’s no one perfect oil or lotion that will help with enhancing scar massaging results. It would be best to consult with your FTM/N top surgeon before purchasing any oils, creams or gels
  • Aggressive scar massaging can cause widening of the scars, ensure that you’re massaging gently. A tip that you may want to start massaging if you feel that your skin is beginning to adhere to your chest wall.