Post op Massage frequently asked questions
One of the biggest mistakes that people make with cosmetic surgeries is not planning enough recovery time, nor investigating the best methods for enhancing recovery. Lymphatic drainage is becoming essential both before surgery and after. Many patients experience pain, swelling, sleep disturbances and bruises after surgery and have few options to handle these uncomfortable symptoms. Without proper support, healing can be limited, and recovery can take much longer than anticipated.
Lymphatic drainage vessels can be cut and damaged during surgery which lead to reduced healing, the appearance of scar tissue and uneven skin texture. Decongestion of the lymphatic system is essential to bring back normal texture, definition and tone of skin. Numerous studies have shown the benefits for: - liposuction - breast augmentation or breast reduction - breast reconstruction - facelifts - forehead lift, brow lift - blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) - abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) - fat injections (e.g. Brazilian butt lift)
Lymph drainage around the areas of liposuction and other plastic-surgery treatments greatly facilitates healing, helps to smoothen areas and eliminate lumps and indentations, contouring the skin so that your procedure is less noticeable over time. It also helps with normal movement of the skin and reduction of scarring. In Europe and South America, surgeons have been prescribing lymphatic drainage on a pre- and post-operative basis for decades, and the treatment has been established as standard practice. In the US, the benefits of the treatments are only now being fully appreciated.
Typically, plastic surgeons recommend that their patients receive anywhere from 2 to 3 sessions per week for up to one month following their surgery (10-20 sessions). In South America, it’s not uncommon to receive this essential therapy even more often which may explain the incredible results cosmetic surgeons are famous for in those countries.
Lymphatic Drainage can even be extremely beneficial to an upcoming plastic surgery procedure. You should have your treatment 24 to 48 hours before surgery. This treatment will help prepare your body’s immune system for the surgery, helping to fortify it against the upcoming trauma.
Lymphatic Massage is NOT a Traditional Massage
Contrary to what you might think, lymphatic massage is not a traditional massage like deep tissue, Swedish massage, or hot stone. It is a specific technique that is both specialized and advanced. Additionally, it should never hurt. I constantly have clients ask me if the massage will be painful—because the image of draining fluids from your lymphatic system doesn’t invoke scenes of serenity. However, it is actually quite pleasant and relaxing.
During the massage, I use gentle rotating, and pumping motions to gently move lymph fluid through your body. Sometimes I incorporate gentle vacu-therapy or massage cupping for additional post-surgical support when indicated. I never use heat with my massage technique, as that can increase edema in the surgical area. Also, never receive a deep tissue or therapeutic massage in place of a lymphatic massage—the results will not be the same.
The Number of Treatments You Require Depends on Your Surgery
Another common question is how many post-surgery massage treatments do I need? Typically, I recommend at least one or two treatments before your surgery. After surgery, that number changes based on the type of surgery you had. Some people benefit from 4-6 treatments, while others might require up to 10-12 depending on the number of surgical areas and how the body is recovering. In rare cases, I recommend more than 12 post-surgery sessions in consecutive order. However, general lymphatic massage is good practice whether you’ve had surgery or not.
Support Your Lymphatic Massage Post-Op with These Tips
Drink plenty of fluids.
I can never stress this enough. Drink plenty of clean, mineral-rich water before and after your massage for the best results.
-Eat a healthy diet.
Nutrient-dense foods also support your body from the inside out. Grab fruits and vegetables (especially those on my top lymphatic friendly foods list) and chow down before your surgery.
-Don’t stay on the couch or in the bed.
After your surgery, and more importantly after your massage, it’s tempting to stay in bed or on the couch, but you actually need to move. Movement, such as walking, helps pump the lymph fluid and is supportive to your healing process. If you feel tired after your session, then honor your body by resting, but remember to incorporate some type of movement that is comfortable for you at the different stages of your healing process. And, of course, always follow your Doctor’s direction.
Above all, remember that other types of massage can hinder your healing process. It’s critical that you hire a certified lymphatic therapist to administer your lymphatic massage. Make sure they have experience aswell. Check their certifications and reviews, or you can just choose to book an appointment with me!
LYMPHATIC MASSAGE DOES SPEED UP RECOVERY
Post-op recovery is not a fun process, whichever way you spin it. But it can be made quicker.
See, the big part of the recovery process is about waiting until the swelling goes away.
Whether it’s eyelid surgery or liposuction, some post-op swelling is always expected as part of the healing process.
atic massage is the prime choice when it comes to reducing swelling, as it removes the fluid build-ups lying under your skin.
But that is not the only reason why you should be concerned.
These fluid build-ups, if untreated, eventually can cause your skin to harden, and for swelling and bruising to happen.
Otherwise known as fibrosis, it is considered one of the main complications after plastic surgery.
While it is definitely not a very common side effect, nor a particularly dangerous one, it can be unpleasant and very unaesthetic, causing pain and visible scars near the surgical site.
Since it unblocks your lymphatic system, lymphatic massage can help you kill two birds with one stone:
Speed up your recovery by detoxicating your body and reducing swelling
Avoid very unpleasant and unappealing complications by removing fluid buildups
Lymphatic massage is extremely helpful after:
Facelift and necklift
Breast augmentation and reduction
IS IT POSSIBLE TO DO LYMPHATIC MASSAGE AT HOME BY YOURSELF?
At this point, you might be fairly certain that lymphatic massage is a good thing. Perhaps you even think it might be worth trying doing it at home, by yourself.
While, technically, it is possible, I do not recommend it.
Not because we don’t believe you can—because you might not feel the same effect afterwards. And, while it’s not a required procedure by any means, it does play an important role in any patient’s post-op recovery.
Performing a proper lymphatic drainage manually requires:
Knowledge of the lymphatic system (knowing the key ‘clutter points’ and ‘exit pathways’)
Understanding of the underlying post-op tissue and fluid build-ups (in order to remove them)
Expertise with the massage itself (applying the right amount of pressure at the right places might simply be impossible without a physician’s help)
So, again, just to be clear: I do not think that you’re not capable of performing a lymphatic massage.
But since it does require knowledge and expertise, it is difficult to perform all of the steps optimally, which can ruin the entire outcome. It is effective for facial, abdomen, thigh and other post-op treatment areas.
I do mean it when we say that manual lymphatic drainage is extremely important in post-op recovery, and the best thing you can do is to leave it to people who do it for a living.
Besides, it can get really boring doing this by yourself.
Q: Why do I need Lymph Drainage Therapy after my liposuction, Smart-lipo, Cool Sculpting or other cosmetic surgery procedure?
A: You many notice a hardness or lumpiness to the areas treated with liposuction Smart-lipo, or Cool Sculpting especially in the abdominal area and even more so if combined with other body contouring procedures (such as fat injections for what is popularly known as the Brazilian Butt Lift) This is normal right after your procedure. This post-surgical lymphedema is caused by inflammation and trauma from the cannula (instrument that sucks out the fat) moving under the skin. Channels are formed by the cannula that can fill up with fluid and the tissue also becomes swollen. Manual Lymph Massage helps to move the fluid by gently pumping it back into the lymph vessels. Reducing the swelling can reduce discomfort. Without Lymph Massage (LDT or MLD) the inflammation can evolve into fibrosis (a permanent hardening of the tissue) or a seroma ( pocket of serum) can form. Many doctors prescribe Lymph Drainage Therapy after liposuction or other plastic surgery procedures to make sure their patients get the best possible results from their procedure.