Manual Lymphatic Drainage and post surgery recovery
After any plastic surgical procedure, especially hi-definition liposuction, patients experience severe swelling and bruising that can last for weeks to months and the flow of lymph can be interrupted by the surgery, which can result in reduced healing, fibrosis (scar tissue, dimpled, uneven skin and the possibility of developing seromas (pockets of serous fluid). Plastic surgeons frequently recommend Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) after liposuction, or after abdominoplasty with liposuction (a ‘tummy-tuck’). If you have multiple procedures simultaneously (liposuction, breast work and tummy tuck), MLD will be even more necessary to address swelling and tissue hardness. Manual Lymphatic Drainage accelerates recovery and decreases the chance for irregularities, lumps or bumps, and scar tissue formation, which can all affect the final cosmetic outcome. It also helps the skin to tighten and conform to the new body shape and sculpted musculature during the liposculpture procedure.
What is the Lymphatic System?
The lymphatic system is composed of a series of lymphatics channels that run throughout the body and lead back to larger lymph nodes. The job of the lymphatic system is to rid the body of toxins, waste, and unwanted materials, in addition to transporting lymph — a fluid containing white blood cells — throughout the body to help fight infection.
What is manual lymphatic drainage?
Manual lymphatic drainage is a central component of CDT (Complete Decongestive Therapy) which is the treatment recommended by the International Society of Lymphology for managing chronic swelling in patients with lymphatic insufficiency (lymphedema). Imaging studies confirm that manual lymphatic drainage significantly increases the flow of fluid in lymphatic vessels in normal individuals.
MLD is widely used throughout European hospitals and clinics. It is accepted worldwide as the primary tool in lymphoedema treatment & management.
A lymphatic drainage is different than getting a regular massage in the sense that long, rhythmic, wave-like strokes are used to open and then shut the lymphatics, leaving little time for that lymph to get sucked down along the vessel. During a lymph drainage massage, we use a series of gliding, compressing and stretching motions over the client’s body. The light rhythmic movements, applied without massage oil, stimulate the lymphatic system without compressing the vessels – allowing lymph to move easily through the tissues and lymph nodes. MLD follows a specific sequence over the body so lymph isn’t trapped anywhere, making sure every area is treated with care.
The lymph system is a slow-moving system of vessels and lymph nodes that is supplementary to the body's system of blood circulation. By stimulating the lymphatic system through this treatment, the body helps drain puffy, swollen tissues, supports the body's immune system, helps the body heal from surgery, and carries away excess fluid, waste, virus and toxins.
Post-Surgical Lymphatic Drainage is good for detoxification, edema, pre- and post-plastic surgery and post-liposuction. It can also help with cellulite treatments, fibrosis (lumps that form under the skin about one to two weeks after a surgical procedure), scar tissue, spider veins, and reduce swelling after cosmetic facelift or blepharoplasty. Post-Surgical Lymphatic Drainage should have a very soothing, relaxing effect to relieve swelling, numbness, bruising and pain. It should also help the appearance of the treated area.
How does Manual Lymphatic Drainage feel?
Lymphatic vessels are very tiny and fragile hence Manual Lymphatic Drainage has to be extremely gentle and very relaxing. The masseuse will massage extra fluid towards the lymphatic tissue, so that it is more quickly absorbed by the body. No oils or other products are used on the skin during these sessions.
Lymphatic drainage is sometimes termed 'massage' because it involves hand movements on the skin but it is very different from therapeutic or aromatherapy massage which can cause friction to the skin and increase the blood supply. This, in turn, causes more lymph to be produced.
Manual lymphatic drainage is usually delivered in one-hour sessions. It is not painful, much gentler than regular massage, and is usually described as being pleasant.
Does deep massage have the same effect?
We all think that deep massage would be helpful, especially to reduce hardness after liposuction but it actually increases circulation to the treated areas, making it harder to evacuate the lymph fluid and thereby making the problem worse. MLD is the only treatment that positively activates the lymphatic system to remove the accumulation of waste products and old blood cells in the tissue, thereby reducing swelling, bruising and tissue hardness. It is also very gentle and non-painful, so the practitioner can work directly over or very close to the areas where the procedure has taken place to maximise the effect.
When can I have Manual Lymphatic Drainage?
To receive the full benefit of Manual Lymphatic Drainage after Liposuction it is best to receive a treatment as soon as possible after the procedure. As a general rule it’s better to ask your surgeon when you can start your sessions as every case is different.
How many MLD sessions should I have?
This depends on your surgeon's recommendation but it's usually a minimum of 10 to 15 post-surgery for liposuction and 6-10 for other types of surgery. Do ask your surgeon how many sessions you are likely to require as each person's needs will be different.
Benefits of a Post-Op Lymphatic Massage
- It speeds up the healing process by: reducing swelling and bruising, increasing the removal of cellular debris and other waste from the area (including free fats), reducing local inflammation, and decreasing the risk of infection by improving the immune response (the lymphatic system plays an active role in immune surveillance, immune cell transport, and clearance).
- It decreases scarring and the build-up of fibrotic nodules (hard lumps), and consequently improve skin texture and tone.
- It decrease pain, sensitivity and touch-avoidance by speeding healing and providing gentle and pleasing massage.
Contraindication to Manual Lymphatic Drainage
It should be noted that lymphatic drainage massages aren’t recommended for patients if they have any of the following conditions:
- Congestive heart failure
- History of blood clots or stroke
- Current infection
- Liver or kidney problems
Prices and Booking
We treat every individual as exactly that - individual. Your treatment will be tailored just for you, your body and what you are trying to achieve. For this reason, you cannot book your appointment directly online as we need to have a conversation or communication first. If you are interested in Manual Lymphatic Drainage treatment, please contact us in the first instance on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 07412 200001
Duration: 60mins for £55
Full body & Face: duration 90mins for £80
Buy 5 sessions and get 1 for free
Home visit: Extra charge will apply depending on your location. Our home visit only covers London. Please contact me to give you a quote.