Lymphatic Drainage: What It Is and How It Can Be Beneficial Pre and Post-Operative

Submited by Kassmd on December 1, 2022

A lymphatic massage is the best option to prepare for or recover from different types of surgery. After surgery, bed rest and minimal activity play a role in your recovery. While this helps, a lymphatic massage significantly accelerates your recovery. Having a pre and post-lymphatic massage offers numerous benefits to the body. A pre-surgery lymphatic massage prepares your body and mind for transformation. It also helps minimize inflammation and bruising and fastens the recovery period so that you return to your usual activities. Read on to find out what it is and why our team of doctors at Kass Center for Cosmetic Surgery recommends it.

What Is the Lymphatic System?

The lymphatic system consists of tissues and other organs that work together to maintain body fluid levels and blood circulation and supports the immune system that helps fight disease and infections. The lymphatic system carries a clear fluid known as the lymph, which contains fat cells, waste, and other substances through the body that is filtered through the lymph nodes. It helps eliminate toxins and waste from body tissues, and the clean lymph circulates back through the body.

Fluids can build up in your lymphatic system due to certain medical conditions and surgery. This may lead to a condition known as lymphedema, which occurs due to accumulated fluid and causes symptoms such as skin discoloration, pain, limb heaviness, weakness, tissue swelling, recurrent infections, and skin thickening. The lymphatic’s system crucial function is to drain excess fluids from tissues to keep them healthy and functioning properly.

What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

The lymphatic drainage massage or lymphatic drainage involves using gentle movements or techniques to stimulate lymph flow throughout the body. The massages help the body get rid of excess fluids and restore immune system body function. The massages are designed to target areas with swelling and help with other systemic conditions requiring fluid movement and eliminating toxins and waste.

Lymphatic drain massages help the body maintain body fluid balance, immune functions, and proper blood circulation. They help accelerate the absorption and transportation of lymph fluids while treating lymphedema pre and post-surgery. Pre-surgery massages help eliminate toxins from the body, while post-surgery massages help the body recover faster. If you are getting plastic surgery, post-surgery helps break up fat cells and deliver excellent body contouring results.

The lymphatic massage is performed by a licensed massage therapist who manually massages your body using a particular technique to push the lymph throughout the body. This breaks up the swollen areas and eliminates the excess fluids in the body. The masseuse uses gentle pressure and long strokes to move the lymph fluid to get rid of the toxins in the body. The lymphatic system will be stimulated with rhythmic hand strokes to improve lymph fluid flow. Lymphatic massages also reduce the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness, minimizing muscular fatigue, pain, and inflammation. It would help if you only got lymphatic massages from a licensed and trained masseuse for the best results.

You do not qualify for a lymphatic massage if you have the following conditions:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • History of blood clots or stroke
  • Current infection
  • Mastectomy

The Effects of Surgery On Your Body

When you undergo surgery, it causes shock to your body for some time, leaving your body with the side effects of surgery. This is a normal part of the healing process. A lymphatic massage helps alleviate the side effects, leading to better outcomes. Your surgeon will give you the green light when you can begin your lymphatic massages. Common side effects of surgery may include:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Water retention
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding (sometimes)


Benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic drainage massage benefits for pre and post-surgery include:

  • Reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation
  • Accelerate the disappearance of bruising
  • It helps get rid of any anesthesia or medication left in the body
  • Physical and mental relaxation
  • Improve healing and prevent subcutaneous fibrosis
  • Accelerated lymphatic flow
  • Reduced water retention
  • Healthy immune system
  • Help prevent infection after surgery
  • Improve body shape and contour
  • Transport and removal of stagnant fluids
  • Assist healthy scar formation
  • Decrease patient’s recovery time


Why Lymphatic Massage Is Important Before Surgery

A pre-surgery lymphatic massage helps prepare the body for surgery. This is achieved by stimulating the lymph vessels of the lymphatic system to eliminate cellular waste products, viruses, excess proteins, bacteria, excess fluids, or any other unwanted substances from the spaces between your cells and by cleaning your body tissues. The lymph vessels then transport the unwanted substances to the lymph nodes for cleaning and filtering by the immune system. This optimizes the cellular environment of the treatment area.

Pre-surgery lymphatic massages significantly minimize the risk of post-surgical complications that may occur, such as scar tissue formation, infections, and bruising. Additionally, after the lymphatic massage, surgeons have an easier time making an incision through the well-drained tissue. The massage also helps to relax the nervous system deeply. This allows the whole body to adjust to the physical and traumatic changes that occur during a surgical operation. One to three consecutive treatments before surgery yield the best results.

To boost lymphatic drainage and keep the proper function of the lymphatic system after surgery you can:

  • Use a foam roller or massage ball to massage your muscles regularly to promote lymphatic drainage.
  • Stay active by moving around regularly to stimulate the movement of the lymph fluid through the body system.
  • Keep hydrated throughout the day for the proper functioning of the lymphatic system.


Why Lymphatic Massage Is Important After Surgery

Post-surgical lymphatic massage is crucial since it helps speed up recovery. The most common side effect of surgery is swelling. It is a normal inflammatory response of the healing process whereby fluid rushes to the operated area to nourish its white blood cells. Excessive swelling can lead to prolonged healing, increased pain, and infection and may affect scar formation and decreased range of motion.

Lymphatic massage prevents fluid buildup after surgery and flushes out unwanted cellular debris and excess fluid at a fast rate. This helps reduce pain, bruising, swelling, and prevents fibrosis (scar tissue development beneath the skin), and fastens healing. It also has a calming effect on the nervous system, allowing the body to activate its natural healing mechanism.

Lymphatic massage drainage is gentle, and you can receive it within days of surgery. The frequency of the massages will depend on the surgery and the patient’s condition.

Multiple consecutive treatments (massages every two to three days) are recommended for best results in the first two weeks after surgery. The treatments can decrease in frequency from then on. It is never too late to have a post-operative massage; you can have them even after a month after surgery. After your lymphatic massage, you may experience the following mild side effects such as:

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Increased urination

You can look and feel better after a post-operative lymphatic massage. For more information, contact Kass Center for Cosmetic Surgery today. We are glad to help.