Lymphatic Drainage Massage After Cosmetic Surgery

Dealing with the side effects of cosmetic surgery can be somewhat troublesome. Although many are temporary, they may hamper your day-to-day activities. This is why, for some procedures, the surgeon may recommend some medications, activities, or exercises. It can help relieve those side effects. Lymphatic drainage massage is one such that is recommended by some doctors to patients who’ve gotten a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) or liposuction surgery.

There’s a diversity of viewpoints and opinions in the medical community on many issues. When it comes to lymphatic massage, there are differences of opinion among healthcare providers. Some doctors believe it to be very beneficial following liposuction, while others believe that it can be harmful to the body immediately following the surgery.

Since many patients ask for a lymphatic massage after having cosmetic surgery, they must be completely aware of its pros and cons. Before that, let’s first understand what exactly we mean by the lymphatic system.

What Is The Lymphatic System?

The lymphatic system is a part of the circulatory and immune systems. It consists of a network of vessels, tissues (lymphoid tissue), and organs (spleen, bone marrow, thymus, tonsils, etc.). They work together to move a clear, watery fluid lymph, back into the circulatory system.

The lymphatic system plays an extremely important role in the human body. It helps maintain the balance of fluids. The fluids and other particles that leak out of the blood vessels are taken by the lymphatic system. If this doesn’t happen, it leads to the swelling of tissues, a condition known as oedema. If the person has a swelling for more than three months, they may have lymphedema.

There are around 500-600 lymph nodes in the body. These can be found in different areas of the body, such as the groin, armpits, abdomen, throat, and chest. It is these lymphatic nodes that play a role in the body’s immunity against foreign pathogens.

The lymph is filtered through the lymph nodes, which contain lymphocytes (T cells and B cells). They help in destroying bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. In case of an infection, the body produces more lymphocytes, which results in the swelling of lymph nodes. The lymphatic system also absorbs fat from the small intestine.

What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

The lymphatic system does not have the support of a pumping organ like the heart to move the lymph through the vessels. It relies on muscle movement and breathing to move the lymph.

Lymphatic massage essentially accelerates the movement of the fluids to the lymph nodes and around the body. There are certain health conditions that can cause the accumulation of lymph in the body. Lymphatic massage can help in its circulation and reduce swelling.

One type of lymphatic massage is manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD). The purpose of the massage is to stimulate the lymphatic system. It helps drain the fluid with the help of certain motions that are performed by a massage therapist. It may prove beneficial to those people who have:

  • oedema/swelling
  • fatigue
  • stress
  • migraine
  • insomnia
  • digestive issues
  • skin disorders
  • arthritis

Many people incorporate manual lymphatic drainage in their skincare routine for improved aesthetics. After surgery, some surgeons recommend it. They believe that it helps to flush out anaesthetics from the body and reduce the swelling that commonly accompanies surgeries.

Is A Traditional Massage Better Than Lymph Drainage?

The word massage itself causes some confusion. Many people end up thinking that lymphatic drainage is not that different from a traditional therapeutic massage. However, that’s not the case. To begin with, manual lymphatic drainage starts from the neck area.

Lymphatic drainage follows a specific sequence. The way the pressure is applied in MLD imitates the motion and rhythm of the lymph, which leaves the person relaxed. In traditional massages, oils are used for massaging the body, and deep pressure is applied. This is not the case with manual lymph drainage. Your massage therapist will apply very light pressure.

Is A Lymphatic Drainage Massage Good or Bad?

There’s no one straightforward answer to this question. In fact, there are two contradictory views on lymph drainage massages among healthcare professionals. One side argues that the patient should absolutely get the lymph drainage massage after liposuction surgery.

According to them, it is okay for the patient to start getting a lymph drainage massage 1 week after the surgery. They can continue getting it for a month. Moreover, this is recommended for patients who have gotten a fat injection to the buttocks (BBL). In this case, the patient can start getting a lymph drainage massage 1 month after the surgery.

The other side argues that the patient can have a manual massage or through a G5 machine after liposuction surgery. S/he can start getting them 2 weeks after the surgery takes place. The frequency of the massages should be 2 to 3 times a week as they’d be enough.

It may help with oedema and even accelerate the process of swelling reduction. Still, they do not recommend lymphatic drainage massages. That’s because they may cause trauma and even end up increasing oedema, which is why it is not recommended.

How To Perform Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

If you’re getting a lymphatic massage after getting cosmetic surgery, it is better to get a massage from a trained professional. It is possible to get the lymphatic drainage massage at home manually. You can do it while you are sitting down, standing up, or lying down.

You have to be careful about a few things when performing the massage yourself. To begin with, you should only apply very gentle pressure. This is not going to be a deep muscle massage as happens in traditional therapeutic massages. Make sure that you are drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day, as it will help flush the fluids.

Do not massage those areas that are still swollen or have undergone surgery. It is better if you don’t do it yourself since your body is still recovering from the trauma of the surgery and is fragile. You do not want to put your health at risk or jeopardise the results of the surgery by performing the massage the wrong way.

You might notice a difference as a result of these lymphatic massages. It may either reduce swelling or stop it from getting worse. Other than performing the massages, you can also try to exercise, eat healthy food, and drinks lots of water to improve the functioning of your lymphatic system.

Is Lymphatic Drainage Massage Harmful in Some Way?

It may induce nausea and vomiting. The patient can also develop bruises in the massaged areas. Some surgeons do say that lymphatic massages can increase oedema due to trauma.

Therefore, instead of this massage, the surgeon may recommend a massage using a G5 machine. It stimulates the lymphatic system and helps with lymphatic drainage. These techniques are used as a treatment after cosmetic surgery. With the help of these techniques, the patients can relieve some of the side effects of the surgery.

Who Is Not Suitable for Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Not everyone is a suitable candidate for lymphatic drainage massage. In fact, before getting the massage, make sure that you do not leave out any details of your medical history to your doctor. People who have diabetes, haemorrhoids, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, sensitive skin, allergies, and/or excess body weight are not suitable for this massage.

Even if you do not suffer from any of the above health conditions, your surgeon might not recommend a lymphatic drainage massage to you. Please keep in mind that each patient is unique. What works for another person might not work out for you. Therefore, you shouldn’t compare yourself with other patients.


The lymph nodes in the lymphatic system play an important role in the immune system. It also plays many other important roles in the human body. Getting a lymphatic drainage massage can help in accelerating the movement of the lymph in the body.

As a result, it may help reduce swelling that can occur after cosmetic surgery. However, there are conflicting views on its importance. If you have any questions regarding the aftercare process, you can contact our dedicated aftercare team at [email protected].

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