What IS Post Op Bodywork?
Post Op Bodywork is a series of specialized massage and soft tissue techniques to facilitate the healing process and aesthetic outcome after plastic and cosmetic surgeries. These treatments integrate both medical and aesthetic bodywork principles to reduce built up fluids, decrease pain, release adhesions and enhance the contours of the body.
Treatments are broken down into 3 stages:
Drain - Fluid reduction
Smooth – Soft tissue remodeling
Maintain – Maintenance and intervention
Facilitate lymph movement
Remove fluid buildup
Speed up recovery time
Smooth lumps and bumps
Enhance body contour
What it is NOT.
Post Op Bodywork is NOT painful. This is a specialized bodywork modality with strong foundations in Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD), which is a gentle yet powerful technique in fluid reduction. As pain and fluid is reduced, the body is gradually conditioned to the subsequent stages in treatment.
It is also NOT a body contouring or aesthetic service alone. These treatments are medical before they are aesthetic. In fact, the objective of Post Op Bodywork is to facilitate the healing process and to help TRANSITION the body into aesthetic services. Aesthetic treatments can be performed when the body and soft tissues have healed and recovered. Premature aesthetic treatments can induce tissue damage and swelling which can lead to aggressive scar tissue development.
But what about Fibrosis?
Fibrosis is a tremendously abused umbrella term that means scarring of tissues of the body. There is a lot of confusion about what it is and isn't. Unfortunately, the spread of post op information fueled by the misunderstanding of this term evokes a lot of fear.
There is no need to be afraid of fibrosis after surgery but there are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about Fibrosis.
Scar tissue is inevitable. The body repairs itself after injury or surgery by developing scar tissue. This is a normal healing response. The goal of Post Op Bodywork is to help manipulate the formation of scar tissue to alleviate restrictions in the soft tissues and enhance the aesthetic outcome.
Hardening does happen and NO, it is NOT Fibrosis. The presence of hardening has more to do with the thickening of proteins and fluids built up around the tissues. Post Op Bodywork helps to soften thickened fluids and facilitate the fluid into lymphatic circulation.
Timing is everything. It is important to stick to a routine during post op recovery as this will help streamline the entire process. There is such thing as too much and not enough. Tissue damage and scar tissue formation can be intensified if treatments are administered too soon, too frequent, or if the wrong phases are administered too early. The other side to this is that proper treatment is delayed for too long which can lead to dense scar tissue development.
It's never too late! Although it may be a little more painful and/or time consuming, it is never too late to address fibrosis. The body is constantly rebuilding and adapting so we can always address these restrictions and imperfections.
How is Fibrosis treated?
The fundamentals of Fibrosis Treatments is to break up scar tissue and manipulate the formation of new scar tissue. There are various massage techniques, tools, and technology that can be used during treatments. But keep in mind that Fibrosis Treatment is a process just as it is with standard Post Op Massage. As mentioned previously, scar tissue development is inevitable. It is also a continuous process which is why scar tissue can become more dense if left untreated.
With that being said it becomes clear that the best time to begin treatment is as early as possible. Post Op Bodywork that is administered right after surgery is a means of early intervention as it allows to manipulate the scar tissue formation from the start.