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Lymphatic Massage After Lipo: What Does It Help With?

After a liposuction procedure, all patients wear compression garments and many have post-surgery drains as part of their aftercare. The purpose of these is to speed up their recovery, keep swelling down and minimize bruising. Lymphatic massage after lipo is another procedure that many doctors recommend to their patients to help in their recovery process.

What Is A Lymphatic Massage?

The human body is remarkable if you think about it, with so many complex systems that all work together to keep us healthy. The lymphatic system in the body is a large network (like a tiny tunnel system) that works with the circulatory system to maintain health and protect your body from intruders that cause sickness, maintain the body’s fluid levels, absorb fat from the digestive tract, and remove cellular waste.

Lymph is the watery fluid that is transported through the entire system and carries white blood cells and different types of waste. As the lymph is working its way through the body, it stops at different checkpoints called lymph nodes that act as a filter to clean it up. Unlike our blood supply and circulatory system, which is moved along by the pumping of the heart, the lymphatic system relies on gravity. Normally gravity is sufficient however if the lymphatic system gets overloaded or becomes sluggish, a unique lymphatic massage after lipo can help get things moving again.

When a patient has liposuction, it triggers natural responses in the body and produces excess fluid, thus the swelling, and need for compression garments, drains, etc. The lymphatic system can become overloaded trying to dispose of this excess fluid. A lymphatic drainage massage can expedite the removal of excess fluid and alleviate some discomfort for the patient.

Video: Liposuction Aftercare

Lymphatic Massage Vs. Traditional Massage

When most people think of massage they automatically think, deep pressure being used on the tendons, muscles, and tissues but lymphatic massage targets the fluid system that lies just beneath the skin and requires only very light pressure.

The techniques used during a lymphatic massage or lymphatic drainage massage are very light and done with gentle strokes and a bit of medium pressure “pumping” like movements. The neck, chest, abdomen, armpits, and upper legs are concentrated on since they are the main parts of the lymphatic system.

For anyone who is accustomed to having deep tissue massages, a lymphatic drainage massage after lipo will not feel like what they are used to at all. It is extremely important to ensure your massage therapist is a well-trained expert in the technique of lymphatic drainage because any other type of massage is not recommended after liposuction or other surgery.

Is Lymphatic Massage Necessary After Lipo?

When a patient has liposuction it is flagged by the body as an injury and stimulates lymphatic flow to that area (picture a tiny ambulance full of white blood cells) ready to help heal the area and carry away waste. The swelling that is caused is part of the healing process and is normal however, it tends to be one of the most uncomfortable side effects. The benefit of a lymphatic drainage massage is it helps the lymphatic system process all this extra fluid more efficiently.

Most doctors agree that they do not see different procedure results for patients who do not have lymphatic massage after lipo but historically have seen benefits for patients who do opt to have the massages. It was reported by a few doctors that the massages contributed to their patients’ comfort level during recovery and their recovery time was approximately 2 weeks faster than those who did not choose to get the massages.

Benefits of Lymphatic Draining Massage

  • Reduces swelling and water retention
  • Helps relaxation
  • Initiates movement within the lymphatic system
  • Boosts immune system
  • Diminishes stress
  • Increases energy levels
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Improves sleep quality

FAQs About Lymphatic Massage After Liposuction

Can I DIY A Lymphatic Massage At Home?
It is important to leave a lymphatic massage to a professional specifically trained in lymphatic draining massage as your body heals. If an incorrect technique or pressure is used, it can hinder your recovery. However, once you’re fully recovered, you can choose a different level of massage pressure if you desire.
What Is The Cost For A Lymphatic Drainage Massage?
The cost of a lymphatic drainage massage will vary by location and the massage therapist that is chosen. The cost of the massage(s) will not be already included in the price of the liposuction or procedure and the responsibility will be on the patient. You can always consult with your doctor on their recommendation for a therapist skilled in lymphatic massage.
Are Lymphatic Drainage Massages Beneficial After Other Procedures?
Patients who have any procedure that causes the lymphatic system to kick in and initiate swelling such as a breast augmentation or Brazilian Butt Lift, or even a non-invasive procedure like BodyTite, a fat-reducing procedure, would benefit from lymphatic drainage massages as part of their recovery process. Most doctors agree that while lymphatic massages will not change the outcome of your surgery it has helped some patients recover more quickly with less discomfort.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Lymphatic Massages?

The lymphatic system is the waste removal system of the body so if it is congested or backed up, patients may experience some side effects and it gets cleared out. Some patients do experience some side effects after their lymphatic drainage massages but others report feeling more energetic and better than they did before the massage. It is normal to feel a bit fatigued and relaxed but symptoms like nausea and diarrhea are less common. Some less common side effects are:

  • Dizziness;
  • Increased urination;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea.
What Can I Do To Optimize My Lymphatic System?

There are some things you can do on a daily basis to help your lymphatic system remove waste from your body and keep you healthier.

  • Drink plenty of water;
  • Get exercise and be physically active;
  • Eat a healthy diet with a lot of vegetables and fruits;
  • Avoid processed foods and sugar;
  • Use dry-brushing techniques;
  • Avoid excessively tight clothing.

Angelina Postoev, MD, FACS, a triple-board certified cosmetic surgeon, and Christopher Ibikunle, MD, FACS, offer traditional and advanced liposuction procedures to men and women in Lawrenceville, Suwanee, Johns Creek, Buckhead, and the surrounding areas of Atlanta, Georgia. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a personal consultation.

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