Lymph Massage after Liposuction
Q: Why do I need Lymph Drainage
Therapy after my liposuction, Smart-lipo or other cosmetic surgery
A: You many notice a hardness
or lumpiness to the areas treated with liposuction,
especially in the abdominal area and even more so if combined with
other body contouring procedures (such as fat injections.)
This is normal right after
your procedure. This post-surgical lymphedema is caused by
inflammation and trauma from the cannula (instrument that sucks out
the fat) moving under the skin. Channels are formed by the cannula
that can fill up with fluid and the tissue also becomes swollen.
Lymph Drainage Therapy helps to move the fluid by gently pumping it
back into the lymph vessels. Reducing the swelling can reduce
discomfort. Without Lymph Massage the inflammation can evolve
into fibrosis (a permanent hardening of the tissue) or
a seroma (pocket of serum) can form. Many doctors prescribe Lymph
Drainage Therapy after liposuction to make sure their patients get
the best possible results from their procedure.
Q: Is Lymph Drainage Therapy
a deep massage?
A: No, although it may seem that deep
massage would assist in decreasing the hardness following
liposuction, it would actually increase the circulation to the
treated areas making it harder to evacuate the lymph fluid. Even
though Lymph Drainage Therapy is extremely light work, it is the
most efficient way to reduce swelling and bruising. It is based on
scientific knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the Lymphatic
System. It is a myth that deep massage and heat are beneficial in
healing after liposuction. The Vodder Method and the Chikly
Technique are widely accepted forms of Lymph Drainage Therapy
performed in hospitals and clinics all over the world. So, even
though it may seem to you that a deep massage or other forms of
therapeutic or Swedish massage would be helpful, it is not.
Q: Does Lymph Drainage
Therapy help get rid of bruising?
A: Yes. That is one of
the best applications of Lymph Drainage Therapy. Bruises are an
accumulation of cellular debris and old red blood cells in the
tissue. Lymph Drainage Therapy greatly reduces healing time for
bruises by cleansing the extracellular spaces where these substances
Lymph Drainage Massage Painful?
A: Performed properly it
is not painful. Lymph Drainage Therapy is not traditional massage. It is a specialized
bodywork modality that uses a gentle, rotating, pumping motion that
moves the lymph fluid without increasing the blood circulation.
Increasing the blood circulation with deep massage and heat can
actually inhibit the movement of lymph fluid by changing the
permeability of the lymph and blood vessels. Do NOT receive a
general therapeutic, deep tissue or Swedish Massage in lieu of Lymph
Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: It is ideal to
receive at least one or two Lymph Drainage Therapy treatments prior
to a procedure. There are many different things that can influence
healing. Some patients get 4-6 treatments post-operatively and that
is enough, especially if the only area of liposuction was the legs,
knees, or flanks. People getting liposuction to the abdomen often
find they require up to 12 sessions. Occasionally a client will need
more than 12, especially, patients
who have multiple procedures at the same time (lipo and a tummy tuck,
or lipo and a buttock enhancement).
Q: What is Lymph Drainage
Therapy treatment like?
A: After an initial consultation,
you will undress down to your underwear, lie down on a massage table
in the face-up position, covered modestly with a sheet. The
atmosphere is the same as a massage treatment room with dim lighting
and soft music. Although you are in a massage setting, it is
important to understand that Lymph Drainage Therapy is a specific
form of bodywork designed to efficiently move lymph fluid in your
body. Lymph Drainage Therapy is
completely different from a deep tissue, Swedish or relaxation
massage that you may be expecting or have had in the past.
Stimulation of the Lymphatic System activates the para-sympathetic
nervous system producing an automatic physiological relaxation
response. Many clients fall asleep. Only the area being worked on is
undraped at any time. Gentle, rotating, pumping motions with the
therapist's hands and fingertips begin at the collarbone area, then
focus on areas where there is a concentration of lymph nodes...the
underarms, abdomen, groin and back of the knees. Usually the entire
session in performed with you lying in the face-up position because
all of the areas of lymph nodes that need to be decongested are
located on the front of the body. Starting on the back (even for fat
injections to the buttocks) would not be indicated because it is
necessary to open up the major lymphatic areas on the front of your
body before the backside of the body can drain. It is very important
to decongest the areas of drainage in the groin, abdomen, underarms
and collarbone areas before sending extra lymph fluid to them.
Directing lymph fluid to nodal areas without opening the lymph nodes
up first increases the discomfort and overwhelms the nodes, leading
to increased recovery time. Each session is one hour.
Q: How often is Lymph
Drainage Therapy applied?
A: The first week it is
suggested that sessions be daily or every other day, if possible.
The second week, every other day, reducing in frequency after that.
It is not possible to get too much Lymph Drainage Therapy and the
sessions can be scheduled at your convenience.
Q: How soon after my
procedure can Lymph Drainage Therapy begin?
A: It is
possible to begin as soon as 24 hours post-op. Please ask you doctor
when you should start Lymph Drainage Therapy for your procedure. Most people wait until they
can comfortably drive themselves to appointments, which is usually
about a week post-op.
Q: It has been over a month
since I had my procedure. Is it too late to begin Lymph
A: No. The healing process after these
types of procedure is several months. If it has been over a month
since your procedure you can still get the smoothing benefits of
Lymph Drainage Therapy. If it has been over 6 months since
your procedure and you are still feeling lumps and hardness you
should contact your doctor to make sure you have not developed
fibrosis or a seroma.
Q: Do I need a prescription
for Lymph Drainage Therapy?
A: No. Although many doctors
recommend Lymph Drainage Therapy, it is also perfectly fine to