Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?
Lymphatic Drainage Massage, also called Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)or Lymphatic Drainage is a specialized massage type that gently assists the lymphatic system in maintaining the body’s fluid balance, blood circulation, and immune mechanisms. The system’s network of vessels and nodes contains lymph, a mixture of water, proteins, immune system components, waste products, and other remnants of cell metabolism. Lymph nodes, which filter out the debris, are found throughout the body, with especially large groups of them in the neck, armpits, and groin. These major collections of lymph nodes ensure that the lymph passes through as many nodes as possible before it returns to the circulatory system.
Why is Manual Lymphatic Drainage important after Plastic Surgery (Tummy Tucks, Liposuction, or any other Plastic Surgeries.)
A: After a plastic surgery procedure, you may notice a hardness, water retention, swelling, hematoma or lumpiness to the areas treated. This is normal right after your surgery. This post-surgical lymphedema is caused by inflammation and trauma from the cannula used to suck out the fat. The channels that are formed by the cannula become fill-up with fluid and the tissue around become swollen.
Manual Lymph Massage helps to move the fluid by gently pumping it back into the lymph vessels, reducing the swelling, retention of fluids and pain after the surgery. Without Lymph Massage (MLD) the inflammation can evolve into fibrosis (a permanent hardening of the tissue) or a seroma (pocket of serum). Many doctors prescribe Lymph Drainage Therapy after liposuction or other plastic surgery procedures to make sure their patients get the best possible results from their procedure(s).
Is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) a form of Deep Massage?
No, although it may seem that deep massage would assist in decreasing the hardness following liposuction, it would increase the circulation to the treated areas making it harder to evacuate the lymph fluid. It is a myth that deep massage and heat are beneficial in healing after liposuction.
MLD is extremely light treatment although it may feel uncomfortable in the first week after the procedure as the area is very sensitive to touch. MLD it is the most efficient way to reduce swelling, water retention and bruising. It is based on scientific knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the Lymphatic System. The Vodder Method is the most effective way to reduce swelling and bruising caused by the procedure. This method is used in hospitals and clinics all over world to treat patients with swelling, bruising and water retention. 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.
Does MLD help get rid of bruising?
Bruises are an accumulation of cellular debris and old red blood cells in the tissue. MLD significantly reduces healing time for bruises by cleansing the extracellular spaces where these substances are trapped.
Is Lymph Drainage Massage Painful?
Performed properly it is NOT painful. MLD is NOT traditional massage. it is a specialized, advanced bodywork modality that uses a gentle, rotating, pumping motion that moves the lymph fluid without increasing the blood circulation. Do NOT receive a General Therapeutic, Deep Tissue or Swedish Massage in lieu of MLD.
How many treatments will I need?
Some patients get 1-6 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 if they had "Smart-lipo". Also, patients who get multiple procedures at the same time (lipo and a tummy tuck, or lipo and a buttock enhancement; Brazilian Butt Lift) may need more sessions than someone who only gets one procedure.
Can I have Manual Lymphatic Drainage 1 month after the surgery?
Yes, the healing process after these types of procedure is between 3 to 6 months. If it has been over a month since your procedure you can still get the smoothing benefits of MLD but you won’t get the same results as if you had your drainage in the first week.
What is a Manual Lymphatic Drainage treatment like?
Your Initial consultation will start were your specially-trained massage therapist will assess the type of surgery and stage of the surgery, any open drainages, bruises, inflammation to determinate the best way to perform the drainage. The MLD is performed in the front of the body and only the area being worked on is exposed at any time. Gentle, rotating, pumping motions will be applied with hands.
Usually the entire session is 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, although some surgeries do require the patient to turn side to side or face down for a short time if tolerated.