Because of its possible health advantages, lymph massage is a popular massage therapy type. This particular method addresses the lymphatic system – a part of the immune system. The goal is to help blood flow in the body and improve immune functions as well as the balance of fluids in the body.
Plastic surgeons frequently recommend manual lymphatic drainage for a recovering liposuction patient. Massage after lipo gently moves lymph to areas with functioning lymph vessels. Due to a decrease in post-surgical swelling and scar tissue formation (fibrosis), providers believe lymph massage decreases recovery time and provides optimal results.This type of massage also helps alleviate fluid buildup after medical treatment or illness blocks your lymphatic system.
At the Plastic Surgery Center, we offer a variety of beauty-enhancing services, including liposuction Shreveport, tummy tuck Shreveport, and Shreveport lipectomy, as well as non-surgical options such as Louisiana BodyTite and BTL Vanquish Me Louisiana. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Forrest Wall can help you decide which procedure is best for achieving the physique you desire.
What is a Lymphatic Drainage Massage?
Nodes and vessels with lymph, proteins, waste products, water, and immune system elements make up the lymphatic system. There are lymph nodes throughout the body, with the largest being in the armpits, neck, and groin. Lymph nodes filter the debris cluttering the lymphatic system and ensure clean lymph goes back to the veins carrying blood to the heart.
Lymphedema is a side effect of any procedure that affects or removes your lymph nodes. Lymphedema only occurs near a surgical site. The patient is likely to experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort during the early recuperation phase after liposuction surgery. This is because liposuction is an invasive procedure that can leave behind substantial tissue damage. One standard liposuction procedure involves using a laser or ultrasonic vibration to liquefy fat. Then, it is suctioned out with a vacuum tube with a sharp end called a cannula. Using large amounts of medicated liquid as a therapeutic agent is another form of liposuction called super wet or tumescent techniques.
Many people think of fat as a glob of disposable white material. However, fat is living tissue with many blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. It is made of adipocyte cells that store lipids and connective tissue that holds tissues together. Fat also plays a significant part in hormonal regulation and energy storage.
Liposuctioning fat destroys cells and connective tissue and causes damage to lymphatic and blood vessels. Lymph and blood amass as a result and have more space to accumulate. This is where a lymphatic drainage massage can help.
Types of Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Doctors, physical therapists, and massage therapists may use four different types of lymphatic drainage massage techniques, including:
- Casley-Smith – This type of lymphatic massage involves using the palms and sides of the hands in a circular motion.
- Leduc – Gentle pressure and hand motions collect lymph fluids and redirect them into the lymphatic system.
- Vodder – Vodder is a foundational technique. It uses sweeping motions around the treatment area.
- Foldi – Foldi builds upon the Vodder technique. The massage therapist alternates between moments of relaxation and circular hand motions.
All four of these techniques use gentle movements to spread the skin in the direction lymph flows. They begin at the section of the limb closest to the torso and move outward from the body. Except for the head, right arm, and right side of the chest, the whole lymphatic system drains near the left shoulder. One-hour sessions are typical for a manual lymphatic drainage massage.
What Does Lymphatic Drainage Do?
Lymphatic drainage massages are helpful in treating lymphedema and can be beneficial to those recovering from liposuction, breast cancer surgery, or any other surgical procedure. Massage therapists, doctors, and physical therapists who utilize manual lymphatic drainage massage techniques receive specialized massage training. Gentle, calculated massage strokes are applied, reducing swelling by stimulating the flow of lymph fluid through the lymphatic system.
Lymph drainage therapy takes two steps. Clearing happens first. In this step, lymphatic fluid releases from your tissues. Next is reabsorption, which involves moving lymphatic fluid to the lymph nodes.
The recovery process after a liposuction procedure is different for each patient. Multiple factors play a part in the recovery time, including the patient’s health and level of physical activity, skin characteristics, type and amount of liposuction performed, smoking, and possible complications such as infection.
Possible side effects of liposuction that a lymph massage may help with are:
- Scars – Immune cell transport to the area removes waste and dead tissue. New connective tissue helps the tissue at the incision site grow back together. The tissue thickens and loses elasticity when too much new connective tissue develops. This is scarring or fibrosis. An excess of scar tissue may be detectable to the touch, make the skin feel tight, restrict motion, and may simply be very noticeable. Scarring often reduces with time, but is typically permanent to some degree.
- Prolonged or Pockets of Swelling – If compression garments are taken off too soon, not used correctly or consistently, or not the right size, swelling may increase. Recovery may slow with the presence of extra fluid or pockets of fluid. It can also promote uneven healing and fibrosis. A complication called a seroma, infection, and inflammation can occur if swelling is uncontrolled.
What Is It Like To Get a Lymphatic Massage?
A massage after a lipo session typically lasts an hour. It is more gentle than a regular massage, and oils and other products are not applied to the skin.
Your massage therapist, physical therapist, or treating physician may employ several massage techniques during the lymph massage, including gliding, stretching, cupping, and compressing motions. These light movements stimulate the lymphatic system and allow the lymph fluid to flow easily through the nodes and tissues.
For best results, physicians recommend that lymphatic drainage massages start within five days of surgery and that patients attend a set number of sessions. Patients may notice positive benefits after the first session that increase with each follow-up massage. Maximum benefit is reached after just a few sessions.
Benefits of Lymphatic Massage
A lymphatic massage has various benefits. The healing process may increase by reducing inflammation and bruising, improving lymphatic function, lowering the risk of infection, and escalating the removal of cellular waste. Additionally, scarring and the development of hard lumps known as fibrotic nodules reduce, improving the skin’s texture and tone.
This type of massage may also decrease pain and sensitivity to touch by accelerating the healing process.
Lymphatic Massage Risks
Lymph drainage therapy is generally a safe treatment, but not recommended for patients suffering from
- A heart condition
- Kidney failure
- Blood clots
- Liver issues
With few potential complications or contraindications, manual lymphatic drainage is a safe technique for patients recovering from liposuction. If you are not sure whether lymphatic massage is right for you, speak with your physician first.
Who is a Good Candidate For Lymph Drainage Therapy?
Patients with excessive swelling or prolonged swelling benefit greatly from lymph massage. Additionally, it is helpful for patients who have fluid build-up in other body parts, such as the legs. Patients experiencing fibrosis are likely to see positive benefits from this type of massage as well. Still, nearly everyone can reap the psychological and health benefits that a lymphatic drainage massage provides.
Lymphatic Massage Near Me
Forrest Wall and The Plastic Surgery Center staff are here to help you select the best procedure for you and determine whether lymphatic massage in Shreveport would aid in your recovery.
In addition to liposuction and lymphatic massage, we also provide other procedures and services to help you achieve the results you desire. These include facelift Shreveport and breast augmentation Shreveport, as well as facials, laser hair removal, Botox injections, and more at our MediSpa. Please call us at (318) 221-1629 or fill out our online intake form to schedule your appointment today.