After your liposuction procedure, your surgeon will likely instruct you to wear a compression garment to help reduce swelling and discomfort. In some cases, however, these compression garments are not enough to reduce your swelling and keep scar tissue from ruining your lipo results. In this case, your surgeon will likely suggest you go for a massage or two.
However, this specialized massage technique, known as manual lymphatic drainage, is not something your local masseuse can perform unless you want your lipo results to go right out the window. Finding someone specially trained in manual lymphatic drainage is essential, and we will show you why.
What Happens during Liposuction
Liposuction isn’t pretty, but the results it delivers sure are.
During a liposuction procedure, your surgeon inserts a small metal instrument, known as a cannula, underneath the skin and above the muscle, or the subcutaneous space. As they move the cannula back and forth, it damages and breaks up the tissue. This damage contributes to swelling and internal adhesions.
Swelling occurs because the lymphatic vessels typically responsible for removing excess fluid are damaged and the fluid builds up in open spaces created by the cannula.
Internal adhesions, or scar tissue, occurs in open areas created by the cannula. This scar tissue can result in dimpling of the skin, making your liposuction results less than appealing.
What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage, and How Can Massage Help after Liposuction?
Manual lymphatic drainage massage is a specialty massage technique that requires specialized training. The massage technique uses a gentle massage sequence to help stimulate the flow of fluid into the lymphatic system. This technique is designed to help reduce swelling and bruising, stimulate the removal of cellular debris, reduce inflammation and aid the body in the healing process.
In addition, the gentle massage helps to decrease the amount of scar tissue, helping to improve your skin texture. This gentle massage also helps to reduce your pain and skin sensitivity after liposuction.
These massage sessions typically last an hour and can begin as soon as the first few days during your liposuction recovery. In most cases, your surgeon will recommend multiple massage treatments over the course of your recovery to achieve the best results.
Why It Is Important to Seek a Professional for Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Manual lymphatic drainage massage is not your everyday massage. While you may have a favorite masseuse that helps you work out your weekly stress, unless they have specific training, they will not be able to perform your treatments.
While the gentle massage may seem similar, manual lymphatic drainage, if performed improperly, can cause serious side effects. This is especially true in people with existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders and cancer.
If your surgeon recommends massage after lipo, chances are they will refer you to a specialist trained in this technique. If not, when choosing a massage therapist, make sure that they have a certification in manual lymphatic drainage before your first treatment.
While untrained therapists should not offer this treatment, there are cases, such as this one in Florida, where unskilled therapists perform the treatment and put their clients at risk. If you have any questions, be sure to talk to your surgeon and they can help you find a qualified professional to help you achieve the results you need.