Lymphatic Drainage for Liposuction Recovery

What does Liposuction do to the Lymphatic System?

The surgical effect of liposuction on the lymphatics is unique. Liposuction disrupts or destroys most lymphatic capillaries within the targeted adipose tissue. Fortunately, lymphatic damage from liposuction is not usually permanent; lymphatic capillaries regenerate within a few weeks to several months after being damaged by a liposuction cannula.

Lymphedema is edema caused by inadequate lymphatic function resulting from the lack of development, destruction, or obstruction of lymph vessels or lymph nodes. These causes include primary lymphedema from impaired development of the lymphatics, and secondary lymphedema from acquired physical destruction (surgery, radiation, infection) or obstruction (malignancy, parasitic infection).

The secondary post-liposuction lymphedema is unique in that it usually resolves spontaneously with time, typically within 2 to 9 months.

Lymphedema is the result of a failure of the lymphatics to remove large-molecular-weight proteins from the interstitial space. Although both blood and lymphatic capillaries reabsorb interstitial water, the lymphatic capillaries are the only route for absorbing proteins from interstitial tissue. No other route is available for the removal of excessive interstitial fluid proteins. The excess proteins simply accumulate indefinitely, along with a proportionate increase in osmotically attracted interstitial water.

The lymphatic capillaries throughout the adipose tissue undergo damage from cannulas. Lymph capillary injury is an inevitable consequence of liposuction, but the extent and the duration of liposuction lymphedema can be significantly reduced by postoperative care. Early and continued efforts to clear out as much blood-tinged anesthetic fluid as possible are immediately beneficial. Once the drainage fluid is allowed to become trapped within interstitial micro-loculations, the edema becomes persistent, resolving only when the injured lymphatic capillaries regenerate.

How does Lymphatic Drainage Therapy Help after Liposuction?

Since the Lymphatic System is the area of surgery is not working properly, when we are working with this type of surgery, we must help recreate the pathways and manually move the lymph to healthy areas. Lymphatic Drainage Therapy help you clear out lymphatic fluid and help re-educate your system for optimal function.

Most physician recommend that you receive Lymphatic Drainage after Liposuction to help you to get back to your daily life more quickly.

Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage after Liposuction:
  • Enhances circulation.
  • Improves lymph flow, which decrease swelling and edema.
  • Decrease bruising.
  • Prevent and decrease severity of fibrosis.
  • Decrease scaring.
  • Decrease pain.
  • Increase comfort and movement.
  • Better sleep.
  • Improved recovery time.
  • Eliminates toxins from the body including anesthesia and cellular debris.
  • Promotes the healing of incisions.
  • Carries white blood cells and proteins to the blood.
  • Improves overall results of liposuction surgery.
  • The skin and tissues are hydrated more efficiently, thus achieving a better appearance.
  • Improves overall health of the body.


Should I get Lymphatic Drainage before my surgery?

Yes, the best way to prepare for a successful surgery is to get the “ground” ready with a minimum of 1-2 Lymphatic Drainage Sessions. This will help to clear out any toxins and debris. As well as enhance the proper function of the lymphatic system, as if you were unclogging a drain. Nice clean pipes can handle more flow.

Will you re-open my sutures to drain fluid? Will it be painful?

A new style of ” Lymphatic Massage” has surged in the last few years where fluid is pushed downwards instead of working with the flow of the lymphatic.  Some
“Lymphatic Massages” reopen the surgical holes and push plasma and blood out of those holes. They are not moving Lymph. And yet, they still call this Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). It is NOT.  They are doing DEEP TISSUE not Manual Lymph Drainage. DEEP TISSUE crushes the lymphatic system and after surgery will cause more damage, bruising and swelling.  This is also another way Seromas are created. Deep Tissue is CONTRAINDICATED after surgery. Lymphatic Drainage is meant to be light work because the lymph system is right underneath the skin.  When it is done correctly it is gentle, not painful, and soothing.

When your tissue is ready, then we can begin to incorporate myofascial and scar tissue work in the areas that the scar tissue is starting to bind.

How soon after surgery should I start my Lymphatic Drainage sessions?

Surgeons often recommend that their patients supplement their recovery with lymphatic drainage as early as possible, ideally within the first few day’s post-surgery. The idea behind this recommendation is that lymphatic drainage can help prevent and alleviate the build-up of fluid and formation of scar tissue. We recommend you get your drainage tubes taken out before you come to us for your sessions.

How many Lymphatic Massages will I need after Liposuction?

The answer depends on the extent of your liposuction, and the location.  Most physicians will recommend a series of 2-3 sessions. Most people will start with 10-12 sessions and then re-evaluate. After those initial sessions, it is recommended that you continue with your Lymphatic Drainage sessions to help re-educate and regenerate your lymphatic system for several weeks after surgery.

When can I do Wood Therapy?

Wood Therapy is a newer technique that uses tools to manipulate and restructure fatty tissues, loosen tight and tired muscles and smooth out cellulite.  It is advertised as a method to help break down fat, cellulite and stimulate lymphatic drainage. If you are going to do this treatment, it is NOT advisable that you do it during your liposuction recovery.

Wood Therapy is a Deep Tissue Technique that is designed to work on deeper myofascial tissue that is Old Scar Tissue.  As mentioned up above Deep Tissue Massage is Contraindicated after surgery.  So that would mean Wood Therapy is also CONTRAINDICATED after surgery.  If you are following a proper regimen of Lymphatic Drainage and Myofascial Release Techniques during the first 3-6 months of healing, there should be little to no scar tissue binding or fibrotic tissue.

If you are looking for a therapy to decrease fat and cellulite, we would suggest you consider ULTRASONIC FAT CAVITATION. It is a much more effective treatment to reduce fat. Physicians recommend you incorporate it as a treatment to reduce the lumpiness that may be experienced from liposuction.

What other therapies should I complement my Lymphatic Drainage sessions with?

ESTHETIC KINESIO TAPING can increase the lymphatic drainage benefits of your treatments, to decrease bruising and swelling. As well as helping increase muscle tone when needed or to relax tissues when that is appropriate.

We recommend you incorporate ULTRASONIC FAT CAVITATION and RADIOFREQUENCY SKIN TIGHTENING after your liposuction surgery to enhance the fat loss and sculpting results you desire. If you have fibrosis or scar tissue, SCAR MOBILIZATION and MYOFASCIAL RELEASE will help to soften scars and eliminate fibrosis.

If along with liposuction you also had an abdominoplasty, (Tummy Tuck), or any other abdominal surgery, we suggest that after 8-12 weeks post-op you also consider getting ABDOMINAL MASSAGE to help reposition abdominal viscera, improve digestion after surgery, improve breathing, decrease adhesions post Tummy Tuck or C-Section, and accelerate detoxification. 

Some plastic surgeries can result in some loose skin, RADIOFREQUENCY and MICRONEEDLING are excellent at inducing collagen production and skin tightening.

Should I get Electro-Lymphatic Drainage or Manual Lymphatic Drainage?

We offer both here at the clinic. And we highly suggest that you chose Electro-Lymph Therapy to rehab after your plastic surgery. Although Manual Lymph Drainage is extremely beneficial when done by a well-trained Lymphatic Therapist, Electro-Lymph Therapy is much more effective.  It uses state of the art tools to significantly improve lymphatic flow, break down debris and large proteins. It precisely targets and unclogs crystalized pockets of lymph located in the lymph nodes or in lymphatic pathways throughout the body. It is painless, very relaxing, and extremely effective.

At Uma Clinic we are here to help you heal from your Liposuction so you can have the most optimal results. Please see How to Prepare for a successful Plastic Surgery and Lymphatic Drainage Therapy for Plastic Surgery Recovery for more information.

We have many clients who come to us to help them recover from tummy tucks, liposuction, Brazilian Butt Lifts (BBL), mommy makeovers, facelifts, mastectomies, breast enhancements and reductions, as well as reconstruction surgeries post mastectomy.