Are you considering cosmetic surgery like liposuction or a Brazilian butt lift? If so, have you looked into what is necessary for you post-op?
At Elite Practitioner, we look at manual lymphatic drainage massages to give you an insight into why it’s essential for your recovery.
What Exactly Is a Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage?
A lymphatic drainage massage is a type of manual therapy that improves the function of your lymph nodes. It is gentle and slow, unlike deep tissue massage, where you are likely to feel some pressure.
This type of massage is often performed after surgery like a BBL (Brazilian butt lift), liposuction (lipo), or an injury.
A lymph node is a small sac located along the major blood vessels near the skin’s surface and forms part of our immune system. There are about 2 million lymph nodes in the human body.
The lymphatic system works like a network of pipes that carry fluid throughout the body. When there is swelling, inflammation, or infection, it drains out of the lymph nodes into the lymphatic vessels.
If the lymph nodes become blocked, they cannot drain properly, and fluids build up under the skin, causing pain, redness, heat, and swelling.
What Are the Advantages of a Lymphatic Drainage Massage After Cosmetic Surgery?
A lymphatic drainage massage helps reduce excess fluids in the body, including lymph fluid. You won’t be as active post-surgery, so you’ll need lymphatic drainage to ensure the fluids move evenly throughout the body.
Some benefits to massage after lipo or a BBL include:
- Reduced swelling from surgery
- Improved recovery time
- Speedier healing process
- Reduced risk of congested lymph nodes, swelling, or inflammation
How Regularly Should You Have a Manual Lymphatic Massage After BBL or Lipo?
Lipo or BBL patients are usually advised to rest for several weeks following surgery. Your plastic surgeon will recommend how often to get a lymphatic massage after your surgical procedure.
After surgery, there is less room for fluid retention, leading to swelling and discomfort. If left untreated, this could lead to complications such as infection.
A lymphatic massage helps with removing dead tissue and toxins post-op.
While there isn’t much research regarding the ideal timing for lymphatic drainage massages, many plastic surgeons recommend starting them within 48 hours after surgery.
However, some experts say that too early could cause discomfort and bleeding. Others believe waiting longer, over 72 hours, could increase the risk of infection. When in doubt, refer to your medical specialist for advice.
The Massage Procedure
The procedure involves applying warm oil to the body and near the incision location. Then, the provider massages the area gently to stimulate the lymph nodes. This improves blood flow, promotes faster healing, and reduces inflammation.
Patients should receive lymphatic massage regularly for at least six sessions. You should see an improvement within one week of starting treatment.
It’s always recommended to speak with your surgeon about what’s best for you. If you feel pain during the massage, stop immediately and consult your provider. If you have concerns about a treatment, you may want to consider having the massage performed by someone else.
How Many Lymphatic Massages Do I Need to See Results After Surgery?
Several factors determine whether you will see results immediately following surgery or if it takes longer. These include the amount of fat removed during surgery, the area where the surgery removed the fat, the type of anesthesia used, and the recovery period.
Liposuction removes up to 5 liters of fat per treatment. Similarly, for BBLs, 1 to 2 liters of fat is transferred into the buttocks. This tissue volume requires minimally 10-20 minutes of massage therapy post-surgery.
You will likely see immediate results if you have a large amount of fat removed, such as around your waistline, thighs, buttocks, knees, ankles, calves, etc.
However, if you had less fat removed, such as under your chin, neck, arms, breasts, abdomen, hips, flanks, etc., you may require multiple treatments over a few months to achieve optimal results.
In addition, there are different types of anesthesia used during liposuction procedures that have varying effects.
- Local anesthesia provides sedation and pain relief without affecting breathing.
- General anesthesia causes complete unconsciousness and does not allow patients to breathe normally. Patients receiving general anesthesia often feel discomfort upon waking due to restricted movement caused by the surgical incision.
- Some patients experience nausea and vomiting while recovering from general anesthesia.
The length of time required to recover depends on the amount of fat removed, the location of the fat removal, the type of anesthesia, and the patient’s overall health.
Most people return home within 24 hours of undergoing liposuction. The average hospital stay is one day. For BBL surgeries, you may need to take at least a week off to recover before returning to your regular day-to-day schedule.
Is Lymphatic Massage Essential Post-op?
Liposuction is one of the most prevalent cosmetic treatments performed nowadays. BBLs are becoming the next most popular surgery but come with risks after surgery.
While lipo is often considered a relatively safe procedure, risks are also involved. One of those risks is post-surgery swelling. This swelling can cause discomfort and pain, especially around the incision site. In some cases, the swelling can even lead to bruising.
A lymphatic massage helps to relieve the swelling and reduce the risk of bruising. You’ll lie face down during a lymphatic massage while someone gently massages your body.
Your therapist will use his/her hands to move along your skin, working out knots and manipulating dead tissue. You might feel tingling sensations, warmth, and heaviness as your lymph nodes release toxins.
While many think that lymphatic massage is only necessary before plastic surgery, it’s helpful after almost any surgery, as it can help speed up the healing process.
Does the Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage Hurt?
It depends on the person receiving the massage. Some people are very sensitive and find it uncomfortable, while others don’t mind it at all.
Talk to your massage therapist if you’re worried about it being too much. They’ll be applying pressure to lymph nodes under the skin to help improve the circulation of lymph vessels post-op, so you can discuss suitable pressure levels with them if needed.
While some discomfort may be experienced, the massage appears to be harmless. On the other hand, we’ve mentioned the risks to your body if you don’t have manual lymphatic drainage, like swelling and bruising.
Bear in mind, however, that it’s important to ensure that you’re using a licensed massage therapist or licensed medical provider to help blood circulation and make your recovery easier.
If you’d like to know more about post-surgery procedures or what aftercare to consider using after having a BBL, like compression garments, our providers at Elite Practitioner are here to assist you.
For more information on all things cosmetic surgery, check out what we offer and where to find us today.