Active self-care is key for rehabilitation after breast surgery


The scar that forms after breast surgery may generate adhesions between damaged tissues. This often limits the sliding action of the tissues and reduces their elasticity and range of motion. A scar adhered to the connective tissue, fascia, often restricts movement and causes pain, not just in the area of the scar but also elsewhere in the body due to tightened connective tissue chains.

Lymph flows in the surface layers of the skin. Swelling or lymphedema may result when scar tissue with adhesions blocks the lymph flow. Lymphedema may also be caused by the surgical removal of or injury to the lymph nodes. Removing the underarm lymph nodes of a breast cancer patient may result in a life-long lymphedema in the arm. Soft tissue manipulation can increase the mobility and elasticity of the area around the scar, detach adhesions to connective tissue and reduce swelling.

The treatment should be initiated on the scar no later than three weeks after the scar has formed or immediately after the sutures have been removed. However, never start treatment of the scar if breast cancer treatment is ongoing – first consult the treating physician. The scar is treated according to the instructions by manipulating the area directly. Swelling in the scarred area should be treated ahead of time by activating lymph flow around the scar while ensuring that the scar stays still and can heal in peace. Treating older scars is also recommended, since the connective tissue of the body is in a constant state of reshaping itself. Therefore, loosening the adhesions of a scar and improving elasticity is possible several years after the scar has formed.

Treatment instructions for the post-breast surgery scar and swelling self-care kit

The self-care kit includes complete instructions and pre-cut tapes. Also see the general instructions on how to apply the tape.

1. Clean

The skin must be clean, dry and hairless. First remove any hair from the area where you will apply the tape. Always clean the skin with a cleaning solution before applying the tape. For maximum adhesion, make sure that the skin is not moist or sweaty.

 

2. Remove the backing paper

Remove the backing from a tape strip that is the length of two handles as shown. Take care not to touch the adhesive. Do not stretch 6D Tape. If the treatment site requires stretching, the recommended stretch is 0–15 percent. If you do stretch the tape, be careful not to stretch the ends of the tape (the “anchors”).

 

3. Place

If the scar or swelling is on your arm or above the breastbone on your body, place a two-handle tape in the supraclavicular fossa on the side with the scar or swelling. If the scar or swelling is on a leg or on your body below the sternum, place the tape on the left supraclavicular fossa. You can also apply 6D Tape on both supraclavicular fossae. Place the strip of tape so that the collarbone (clavicle) sits between the handles or with both handles above the collarbone. Always place both handles above the collarbone if the underarm lymph nodes have been removed. Keep your head in the normal position with your face straight forward. Rub the tape vigorously from the center of the tape towards the ends to ensure that it attaches to the skin.

 

4. Applying tape on a scar

Cover the scar with tape as shown – choose a strip that has two or three handles depending on the length of the scar. If the scar is extensive, for example runs along the whole costal arch, use multiple strips of 6D Tape with two or three handles to cover the whole scar. Attach both ends of the tape by using the backing as shown in the picture. Avoid stretching the tape or touching the adhesive. Applying a two-handle strip of 6D Tape to the lymph nodes in the groin on the side of the scar will make the treatment more effective.

 

Applying tape on the rear of the costal arch

The latissimus dorsi is often used to shape the new breasts after breast surgery. This is what leaves large scars on the costal arch. The treatment is aimed at increasing the flexibility of the scar and fascia.

 

Applying tape on constricting tissue and scars

In the pictured case, breast tissue has been replaced with silicone implants on both sides. Subdermal scar tissue has developed in the breasts and chest area after the surgery, the skin of the breasts has attached to the implants, and the subdermal tissue and fasciae have constricted considerably. This has caused a sensation of pressure and tightness in that region, along with shoulder and neck pain, as well as a restricted range of motion. The taping style used is one- and two-handle activation tapes in the supraclavicular fossae. The constricting scars and fasciae are also taped with one- and two-handle tapes. A pre-cut two-handle strip of tape is seen below the breast.

 

Applying tape after breast surgery

In the picture, a three-handle strip of tape has been applied directly on the surgical incision for manipulation.

 

5. Applying tape on a swollen arm with intact underarm lymph nodes

Apply two-handle strips of tape to the top of the shoulder and the upper arm, on the inside of the elbow and on top of the hand. Alternatively, you can apply a strip of tape with the length of one handle on top of the hand. Keep the arm in the natural position, slightly bent at the elbow.

 

6. Applying tape on a swollen arm with removed underarm lymph nodes

If the arm has lymphedema following the removal of the underarm lymph nodes and you need to wear a compression sleeve, proceed as follows: apply two-handle strips of tape on the area outside the compression sleeve on the shoulder and on top of the hand, as well as in the lymph node area of the groin on the same side.  If two handles is too long for the area to be treated, use a strip with the length of one handle. Apply the activation tapes above the collarbone on both supraclavicular fossae.

If the arm has lymphedema following the removal of the underarm lymph nodes and a compression sleeve is not being worn, proceed as follows: apply two-handle strips of tape on top of the hand, on the outside of the elbow and in the lymph node area of the groin on the same side. Apply two-handle strips of activation tape above the collarbone on both supraclavicular fossae. If you want, you can place a strip of tape with the length of one handle between the longer tapes to make the treatment more efficient. You can also use one-handle strips instead of two-handle strips of tape. The pictures show a one-handle strip of tape on top of the hand. The pictures also show a strip of tape over the scar on the breast.

7. Treating scars

  1. First activate the supraclavicular fossa area by pressing and lifting the tape by the handles approximately 15 times for one minute.
  2. Continue the activation in the scarred area by pressing, lifting and twisting the handles for 5–10 minutes.
  3. Finish the treatment by pressing and lifting the handles 15–30 times in the supraclavicular fossa for one minute. Repeat the treatment every 3–4 hours.
 

8. Treating swelling in the arm

  1. First activate the supraclavicular fossa area by pressing and lifting the tape by the handles approximately 15–30 times for one minute.
  2. Continue the activation by pressing, lifting and twisting the handles, first in the shoulder area, then on the elbow and lastly on the hand. Treat each area for approximately 1–2 minutes. Continue the treatment in the opposite direction, proceeding from bottom to top. End the treatment by pressing and lifting the handles 15–30 times in the supraclavicular fossa area for one minute. Repeat the treatment every 3–4 hours.
 

9. Treating lymphedema in the arm

  1. First activate the supraclavicular fossa areas on both the left and right side by pressing and lifting the tape by the handles approximately 15–30 times for one minute. Then activate the lymph node area of the groin approximately 15–30 times for one minute.
  2. Continue the activation by pressing, lifting and twisting the handles, first in the shoulder area, then on the elbow and lastly on the hand. Do not attach tape to your elbow if you are wearing a compression sleeve. Treat each area for 1–2 minutes. Continue the treatment in the opposite direction, proceeding from bottom to top. Finish the treatment by pressing and lifting the tape by the handle 15–30 times first in the lymph node area of the groin for one minute and then in the area of both left and right supraclavicular fossa. Repeat the treatment every 3–4 hours.
 

10. Remove the tape

We recommend wearing the tape for 3–10 days. Rub the tape vigorously with your hand. Then roll the tape along the skin to remove it. Never tear off the tape, as this may cause pain and damage the skin. The tape’s retention time varies according to the number and intensity of treatment sessions. When the tape starts to come off, it can no longer be reattached to the skin.

 

Customer stories about post-breast surgery treatment

Lymphedema, fibrotic tissue and scars

I am happy with the results produced by 6D Tape, and so are my patients. I have used the tape with lymphedema patients to soften fibrotic tissue, improve lymph flow and activate the body’s lymphatic system.

Rehabilitation after breast surgery

Multiple problems arose in my breasts and chest after I underwent surgery for breast cancer. Active stretching and physical therapy helped, but 6D Tape made the biggest difference.

Swelling and scars

I find 6D Tape to be a good tool for active patient self-care in treating swelling and constricting surgical scars.

Technology makes 6D Tape an unbeatable therapeutic aid

The latest technology and innovations were used to develop 6D Tape, and it has been thoroughly tested before release for sale. The tape is a class 1 medical device, registered according to the European Union’s Medical Devices Directive (MDD 93/42/EEC).

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