Massage can facilitate soft tissue expansion

Massage can facilitate soft tissue expansion
Weicheng Gao, Shaolin Ma, Xianglin Dong, Tao Qin, Xing Qiao and Quan Fang
Medical Hypotheses
Volume 76, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 148-149

Soft tissue expansion is a helpful technique in reconstructive plastic surgery. Unfortunately, tissue expansion still needs to be improved. Tissue expansion is one of the most useful techniques in plastic surgery. However, it takes a long time to obtain it. Some investigators have reported several agents that speed up tissue expansion, but none of these agents has been used in routine clinical practice. Tissue expansion is a mechanical process that increases the surface area of local tissue available for reconstructive procedures. Living tissue responds to the application of mechanical force. Continual inflation of an expander increases the overlying tissue by inducing an increase in mitosis and stealing next tissue.

Various agents and topical creams have been found to enhance tissue expansion by different methods. After reviewing the article around the world, we haven’t found any paper that tell the correlation between massage and soft tissue expansion. In our current article we evaluated the effect of comfortable tissue expansion using topical massage application.

Massage is a comprehensive intervention involving a range of techniques to manipulate the soft tissues around the soft tissue expander. For patients who is experiencing soft tissue expansion with depression, anxiety, or other secondary problem, massage may be a useful adjuct to medical treatment. According to our clinical experience, not only massage is a relatively safe form of treatment with high levels of patient satisfaction for pain reduction and simultaneously, anxiety disappear evidently, but also can speed up tissue expansion.

The use of massage for pain and anxiety reduction and, warrants further research to investigate efficacy, effectiveness, mechanism of action, patients’ perceptions, and cost effectiveness for a variety of plastic and reconstructive conditions. Nurses, physical therapists, and massage therapists commonly practice a technique using hand strokes from the distal portion of the limb to the proximal in a circular pattern14; this helps to redirect fluid from one area of the body to another. Furthermore, effleurage, light manual rubbing, a classical type of massage, retrograde self-massage, and gentle, rhythmic stroking may result in a mild pressure gradient, assisting in removing edema from the affected part of the expanding soft tissue; these techniques may be administered by a properly trained therapist, nurse, or by the patient’s significant other following adequate instructions and proper demonstrations. In addition to the physiological benefits of expanding soft tissue massage by a significant other, patients experienced a range of emotional and mental benefits. Patients reported being comfortable and relaxed during massage, especially during the whole process. Bredin described the touch of a massage as a method of communication that expresses the other person’s willingness to tolerate and accept the woman after her disfiguring surgery.

Our experience shows that massage can improve the rate of tissue expansion by local massage application combined with eye ointment cream application. This means that application of topical massage combined with eye ointment cream to facilitate tissue expansion is simple and effective. In summarize, the effect of massage on soft tissue expansion is probably as follows: (1) reduce the pain in the period of inflation; (2) improve anxiety; (3) preventing or improving capsular contracture around the expander ; (4) increasing circulation or blood flow; (5) as a method of communication between plastic surgeon and the patients.