What you need to know about Lymphatic Drainage Massage after Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery procedures generally alter the body’s normal functioning. It is important for patients to understand the recovery process and take steps to ensure an optimal result. For example, when a person goes through liposuction surgery to eliminate excess body fats, removal of these fats causes damage to the blood, lymphatic vessels, cells, and connective tissues. This in turn creates more space for blood and lymph fluids to accumulate within the tissues. Lymphatic drainage massage helps the body maintain proper fluid balance, blood circulation, and normal immune functioning, which prevents these fluids from accumulating after surgery. This article helps you to understand more about lymphatic drainage massage.

What is the Lymphatic System?

The body’s lymphatic system contains a network of vessels, tissues, and organs that work in collaboration to transport a colorless fluid (lymph) in the bloodstream. Lymph contains white blood cells, especially the lymphocytes that attack bacteria in the blood, as well as fluid from the intestines, also known as chyle, that contains proteins and fats. The lymphatic system is made up of lymph nodes that are small, soft, and round-shaped. They are found in the lymphoid organs which are categorized into two, primary and secondary. Primary lymphoid organs include the thymus, and bone marrow, whereas secondary lymphoid organs constitute the tonsils and spleen.

Types of Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic drainage massage can be done in four ways. These are the commonly applied methods by physical therapists, massage therapists, and doctors to help prevent fluid build-up within the body tissues.

1. Vodder Technique

The Vodder lymphatic drainage massage technique is uniquely used to enhance smooth, fluid movement within the skin. It is done by various gentle, rhythmic motions which are non-invasive, and follow the path of lymph flow around the area of treatment. This technique has a powerful body effect and produces effective results.

2. Foldi Technique

The Foldi lymphatic drainage system massage is an extension of the Vodder technique. Done by following the direction of lymph flow in the area being treated, the therapist does it in turn between moments of relaxation, and circular hand motions.

3. Leduc

Leduc lymphatic drainage system massage is a technique that entirely relies on the motions of the hands. The massage therapist collects the lymph fluid before channeling it back to be reabsorbed in larger lymphatic systems.

4. Casley-Smith

The Casley-smith technique, similar to Leduc technique, is done by circular hand motions. The motions majorly use the hand’s sides and palms for rapid results.

The above techniques generally involve smooth, gentle motions to promote effective lymph flow.

How to Prepare for Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Preparation is key to obtaining successful results. When you prepare for a lymphatic drainage massage beforehand, you will be able to know what to expect afterward, how much it would cost, the pain associated with it, and the relief it does to the body. It is always advisable to make a checklist that will assist you to keep track of every detail. Here are tips to guide you.

1. Ascertain that your therapist is trained

For the best lymphatic drainage massage results, the best therapist would be required. During your consultation, ask your therapist about his/her experience. You could as well request to see some before and after photos of the patients he/she has treated.

2. Be prepared both mentally, physically, and psychologically

Lymphatic drainage massage techniques require a person to be calm, stress-free, and relaxed. He/she should let go of all thoughts, and just be in the moment with the therapist. This helps obtain amazing results.

3. Avoid consumption of heavy meals beforehand

Lymphatic drainage massage can be very intense depending on your treatment. When you eat heavy meals before then, you may experience a lot of discomfort. This will interfere with the smooth progress of the therapy.

4. Do not apply any form of body lotion

Another requirement for a smooth lymphatic drainage massage procedure is not to apply any body oils or lotions. These procedures are done with a person’s skin raw, for effective skin stretching.

5. Relieve your bladder before treatment commences

Lymphatic drainage massage treatments encourage the effective, smooth flow of body fluids. During treatment, more fluid will find its way to the bladder. It is safe to empty it first to avoid creating pressure inside it because chances are that you would need to relieve yourself afterward.

6. Follow your therapist’s instruction

After surgery, the therapist will provide some instructions to follow. These will help make the treatment successful. Examples of these instructions include ensuring that you drink extra fluids to keep the body flushed as frequently as possible, and engaging in some light exercises such as walking, and jogging to keep the muscles active, and your lymphatic system working.

Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Well, lymphatic drainage massage treatment has several benefits that it impacts the body with. These include.

1. It boosts weight loss

Lymphatic drainage massage improves both blood, and fluid circulation. This in turn relaxes the body hence breaks down excess body fats. In simple terms, with a perfectly working circulatory system, the body can easily eliminate extra fluids, and toxic substances therefore eliminating excess weight.

2. It boosts the body’s immunity

Lymphatic drainage massage is responsible to ensure smooth movement of the lymph throughout the body. Lymph is part of the body’s immune system, therefore when the body maintains fluid balance as it removes bacteria from tissues, its immunity increases.

3. It reduces water retention

Water retention occurs when your hydration level is unbalanced. This makes your body cling to the small amount of water present. When this happens, you may feel heavier than usual, less active, swollen, and puffy. Lymphatic drainage massage boosts the circulation of lymph vessels and nodes. This increases the metabolic rate, therefore, decreasing water retention.

4. It improves skin texture

Lymphatic drainage massage improves skin texture by reducing the rate of swelling, blotches, and puffiness, as it speeds up recovery. When the toxins and waste products beneath the skin are removed regularly, the skin is able to remain purified, free from any form of acne.

5. It helps in the treatment of certain medical conditions

Lymphatic drainage massage can be used to treat several medical conditions such as Lymphedema, Rheumatoid arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic venous insufficiency.

What Happens During Lymphatic Drainage Massage

The therapist will perform a lymphatic drainage massage in a particular sequence. This sequence involves several massage techniques to include compressions, slight stretching, gliding, and cupping movements. These gentle rhythmic movements boost the lymphatic system without pressing too hard on the vessels. In turn, the lymph fluid is made to flow easily between the nodes, and tissues without being trapped anywhere.

How often Should I go for Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

The more you have a lymphatic drainage massage, the better for you. Therapists recommend one session daily, for the first month after surgery, to help the body adjust to the new normal. Thereafter, an individual will have to go for one session every month, at least for 5 months.


Lymphatic drainage massage is very useful to the body after plastic surgery. It helps keep blood vessels, lymph vessels, nodes, and the body as a whole in good shape while recovery progresses.