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Kinesiology Tape in Post-Surgical Recovery

January 10, 2023

Kinesiology tape, often referred to as kinesio tape or KT tape, is a therapeutic tool that has gained widespread recognition in the realm of sports medicine and post-surgical recovery. This elastic adhesive tape is known for its unique properties such as elasticity, adhesion, and porosity, which contribute to its therapeutic effects. This article delves into the latest research on the benefits and limitations of kinesiology tape in the healing process following plastic surgery.

Mechanisms of Action

Kinesiology tape’s therapeutic effects are attributed to its unique properties. Its elasticity mimics the skin’s natural elasticity, providing support and stabilization to the affected area. The adhesive properties ensure secure attachment to the skin, reducing displacement during physical activity. The tape’s porosity promotes circulation and reduces the risk of skin irritation.

Benefits of Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology tape promotes circulation and lymphatic flow to the affected area, aiding in the reduction of swelling by facilitating fluid drainage. The tape’s slight lifting effect helps relieve pressure on the affected area, promoting healing. It also provides support without restricting movement, crucial for post-plastic surgery recovery as early mobilization helps prevent stiffness and promote healing.

The “octopus” taping technique, a specific method of applying kinesiology tape, has been effective in reducing swelling post-plastic surgery. This technique involves applying the tape in an “octopus” shape around the affected area, with the tape’s “tentacles” extending out to help drain fluid away.

Recent Insights

A recent study published in 2018 demonstrated that kinesiology tape has a beneficial effect on the reduction of swelling in patients after orthognathic surgery. The study showed a significant decrease in facial swelling and a spectacular evacuation of swelling in the immediate postoperative period after using two lymphatic KT applications. This application drains the lymph into the submandibular lymph nodes, and in some cases, also into the cervical lymph nodes, thereby reducing swelling.

Limitations of Kinesiology Tape

Despite its benefits, kinesiology tape has limitations. Its adhesive properties can cause skin irritation, especially in individuals with sensitive skin. If applied too tightly, the tape’s elasticity can cause discomfort. The tape’s effectiveness may also vary depending on the individual’s skin type and the location of the affected area.

Conclusion

Kinesiology tape has been widely researched and its benefits in postoperative recovery have been demonstrated in numerous clinical studies. Its ability to increase circulation, promote lymph flow, and provide support without restricting movement makes it a valuable tool in the postoperative recovery process. However, it’s important to consult with a surgeon to ensure its appropriateness for each individual case.

Sources

  • Kase, K., & Wallis, J. (2010). Clinical Therapeutic Applications of the Kinesio Taping Method. The Journal of manual & manipulative therapy, 18(3), 142-150.
  • Lee, D., Lee, H., Kim, H., Lee, J., & Kim, Y. (2017). The Effect of Kinesiology Taping on Edema Reduction and Pain in Patients with Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 98(7), 1313-1319.
  • Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J., Theakston, H., Hossain, Z., & Burman, I. (2001). Lower extremity swelling and range of motion improvements in women with fibromyalgia following massage therapy. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 5(2), 104-109.
  • Kim, H., Lee, H., Lee, J., & Kim, Y. (2015). The effects of kinesiology taping on swelling, range of motion, and pain in patients with total knee arthroplasty. Journal of physical therapy science, 27(12), 3651-3654.
  • Lee, J. (2010). The effects of kinesiology taping on muscle strength and range of motion in healthy adults. Journal of physical therapy science, 22(3), 317-320.
  • Szczegielniak, J., Łuniewski, J., Bogacz, K., Krajczy, M., Jankowicz-Szymańska, A., & Krajewska, K. (2018). The influence of kinesio taping on the reduction of postoperative swelling in orthognathic surgery patients. European Journal of Medical Technologies, 1(21), 13-20. Link

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Written by Carolina Pintos

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