Six Reasons Why Lymphatic Massage is Essential After Plastic Surgery

Post-procedure massages can help speed up recovery time and improve your cosmetic results.

In recent years, the demand for plastic surgery has surged, as individuals seek to improve their physical appearance and enhance their self-assurance. Despite the transformative results that surgical procedures can offer, the recovery phase often poses significant challenges and discomfort. And there is no doubt that healing and getting back to our normal routines as quickly as possible without compromising results is the main goal. Enter, lymphatic massage.

In this post we breakdown the advantages of lymphatic massage as an effective postoperative treatment following plastic surgery. By focusing on this specialized technique, we can better understand its potential in facilitating recovery and promoting overall well-being.

But first things first… What Is the Lymphatic System?

The lymphatic system serves as drainage for fluid in your body which is extracellular, but not contained within the arteries and veins. It is composed of a series of lymphatics (a.k.a. vessels) that run throughout the body and lead back to larger lymph nodes. The job of the lymphatic system is to rid the body of toxins, waste, and unwanted materials, in addition to transporting lymph — a fluid containing white blood cells — throughout the body to help fight infection.

After cosmetic surgeries like liposuction or tummy tucks, the lymphatic channels are disrupted and take about two to three months to make new connections. Because of this, Dr. Bloom recommends lymphatic massage treatment for all postoperative patients. Below we outline six reasons why lymphatic massage is essential after plastic surgery.

Lymphatic massage Lymph node regions
  1. Enhanced Lymphatic Drainage: Lymphatic massage focuses on stimulating the lymphatic system, a crucial part of our immune system responsible for eliminating toxins and waste products from our bodies. After plastic surgery, the lymphatic system can become sluggish due to trauma and tissue manipulation. Lymphatic massage helps improve lymphatic circulation, facilitating the removal of excess fluid buildup, reducing swelling, and promoting faster healing. By enhancing lymphatic drainage, patients can experience reduced postoperative edema (i.e. swelling) and discomfort.
  1. Plastic surgery often involves tissue trauma, resulting in an inflammatory response. Excessive inflammation can delay healing, prolong recovery, and increase discomfort. Lymphatic massage aids in reducing inflammation by stimulating the lymphatic vessels to remove cellular waste, excess fluid, and inflammatory mediators from the surgical site. By minimizing inflammation, patients can experience improved healing, decreased pain, and a faster return to normal activities.
  1. Scar Tissue Management: During plastic surgery, incisions are made, and tissues are manipulated, leading to the formation of scar tissue. While scar tissue is a natural part of the healing process, excessive scarring can cause discomfort and limit range of motion. Lymphatic massage techniques, such as gentle stretching and manual manipulation, can help break down scar tissue and promote its remodeling. This can result in improved scar appearance, increased tissue flexibility, and enhanced overall healing.
  1. Pain Relief and Increased Comfort: Plastic surgery often involves postoperative pain and discomfort. Lymphatic massage can provide pain relief by reducing swelling, inflammation, and tissue congestion. The gentle and targeted techniques used in lymphatic massage stimulate the release of endorphins, natural pain-relieving substances, providing patients with a soothing and relaxing experience. By managing pain and increasing comfort levels, lymphatic massage contributes to an overall positive postoperative recovery experience.
  1. Improved Immune Function: Plastic surgery puts additional stress on the body’s immune system. Lymphatic massage can help strengthen the immune response by enhancing lymphatic circulation and promoting the removal of waste products, toxins, and pathogens. This can aid in reducing the risk of infection and other complications, ensuring a healthier recovery process. Additionally, improved immune function can have a positive impact on overall well-being and help prevent secondary health issues.
  1. Psychological and Emotional Benefits: Undergoing plastic surgery can evoke a range of emotions, including anxiety, stress, and self-consciousness. Lymphatic massage offers not only physical benefits but also psychological and emotional support. The gentle touch and nurturing nature of the massage can promote relaxation, reduce stress levels, and enhance overall well-being. Patients often report feeling a sense of comfort, emotional release, and improved body image perception, contributing to their overall satisfaction with the surgical outcome.

Lymphatic massage is increasingly recognized as a valuable postoperative treatment option for individuals undergoing plastic surgery. By enhancing lymphatic drainage, reducing inflammation, managing scar tissue, relieving pain, improving immune function, and providing psychological support, this therapeutic technique offers numerous benefits. Incorporating lymphatic massage into the recovery process can lead to a smoother and more comfortable healing journey, ultimately enhancing patient satisfaction and overall well-being after plastic surgery.

Other things to consider

The appropriate use of compression therapy, for instance, is a critical element in managing post-operative lymphedema. By applying steady pressure to the affected area, compression garments facilitate lymph fluid movement, prevent fluid accumulation, and ultimately, improve patient comfort.

Similarly, gentle activity is encouraged as part of the recovery plan. Light exercise helps stimulate lymphatic flow, reducing swelling and enhancing general wellbeing. Importantly, patients should be guided to balance activity and rest periods to avoid overexertion that could hinder recovery.

Hydration is another pivotal aspect of post-operative lymphatic care. Adequate fluid intake promotes healthy lymphatic function, aids in flushing out toxins, and helps maintain skin elasticity, thereby reducing the risk of skin breakdown and infection.

A well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet also plays a significant role in supporting post-surgical recovery. Consuming a diet rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals can bolster the immune system, expedite wound healing, and provide the energy needed for recovery.