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Lymphatic Massages After Tummy Tucks: Everything You Need To Know


As the body’s sole source of natural cleansing, the lymphatic system gets rid of toxic fluids that cause us to experience swelling and pain. A combination of swelling and pain following surgery can cause recovery to be difficult for some patients, leaving them tired, disoriented, or both. Did you know a medical process is available that reduces pain and swelling after surgery and promote a smoother recovery?

What is lymphatic massage?

Lymphatic massage, also known as manual lymphatic drainage, is the gentle manipulation of specific areas to relieve swelling after surgery. Initially developed for treating lymphedema, or tissue swelling caused by fluid accumulation, lymphatic massage involves a lymphatic therapist gently massaging affected areas to boost the movement of lymph fluids around the body. Although it is not required, lymphatic massage is incredibly beneficial to post-surgery recovery and highly recommended after some procedures.

Why is lymphatic massage so important?

The lymphatic system is part of the immune system, which protects the body from any changes that could lead to illness and is how your body can stay healthy. The lymphatic system creates and releases white blood cells and other cells in the immune system that find and destroy invaders like viruses or bacteria that may enter the body and cause illness. Lymphatic drainage aims to help the body maintain proper fluid balance, immunity, and blood circulation.

What factors make lymphatic massage a recommendation following cosmetic procedures?

More complex cosmetic procedures that focus on large, significant areas, such as the tummy tuck, Brazilian butt lift (BBL), or liposuction, require a lengthy recovery. For many, recovery from these procedures is more painful and includes more swelling than less invasive procedures. These complicated procedures, however, lead to remarkable, truly life-changing results if you follow proper recovery guidelines given to you by your plastic surgeon. When surgery means more swelling post-op, plastic surgeons with genuine care for their patients recommend all possible solutions to alleviate pain and swelling throughout recovery. One of the first solutions that come to mind for cosmetic providers to stimulate a speedy, healthy recovery is lymphatic massage.

What is recovery like after a tummy tuck?

Patients often come to Dr. Liland with concerns over the amount of loose skin around their abdominal area that conceals their original body shape. Typical tummy tuck candidates are people who lost a significant amount of weight and now have a layer of excess skin that covers the new body they worked hard for through diet and exercise. Women often come to Dr. Liland wanting a tummy tuck after pregnancy in an attempt to restore their pre-baby body. It is one of the top procedures chosen by mommy makeover patients. The mommy makeover can include practically any rejuvenating procedure available, so why is the tummy tuck so popular? Though the tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is not a weight loss procedure, it is remarkable for removing excess skin and revealing the contour of your new stomach following weight loss or pregnancy. A procedure as life-changing as the tummy tuck is worth the downtime, but great surgeons do everything to ensure recovery is as smooth as possible.

Downtime after a tummy tuck includes rest for the first few days following the procedure, followed by 2-3 weeks of recovery. This recovery period is when most of the healing process for pain, bruising, and swelling occurs. You should still avoid strenuous activities for 7-10 weeks following the procedure, as your usual exercise routine can interrupt the healing process of your scars and lead to the need for revision. Specialists may recommend certain types of less strenuous exercises to promote healing.

As the tummy tuck includes the removal of skin and tightening of the abdominal muscles, it is a more complicated cosmetic procedure. If done by a trustworthy, experienced plastic surgeon such as Dr. Liland, the results are worth it. Dr. Liland, following any surgery such as tummy tucks, works with each of his patients to develop plans tailored to their needs. These help to promote as smooth a recovery period as possible. After your tummy tuck with Dr. Liland, he will send you home with specific instructions, such as which medications to take, which foods to eat or avoid, skin ointments to apply to the incisions, and when it is appropriate to start returning to different types of activities. If your tummy tuck procedure is more complex, Dr. Liland may recommend teaming up with a lymphatic massage therapist to control and reduce pain, swelling, and bruising.

What are scars like after a tummy tuck?

After your tummy tuck, you will have one or more scars, usually on your lower stomach. Dr. Liland does his best to strategically place tummy tuck scars in areas often covered by clothing. As there are multiple types of tummy tuck techniques, the placement of your incision will depend on which tummy tuck you have. The tummy tuck scar is typically thin and may appear raised or recessed, pink, or lighter than the skin around it. Dr. Liland will send you home with special bandages and glue on your incision to reduce scarring and keep the incision together.

Is lymphatic massage necessary after a tummy tuck?

Lymphatic massage can aid in the healing process of your scars by reducing swelling and helping prevent excess scar tissue from developing during your recovery. Swelling, after any type of cosmetic surgery, is entirely normal and a necessary part of the healing process. Lymphatic massage simply ensures the swelling is healing appropriately and does not contain harmful fluids that may negatively impact your body’s healing response.

How do I find the best lymphatic massage therapist?

Most plastic surgeons with connections in the field have a direct pipeline of lymphatic massage therapists they can send you to if they find lymphatic drainage necessary for your healing. Many plastic surgery centers have in-house lymphatic drainage specialists. If your tummy tuck surgeon does not have any connections in lymphatic massage, you should thoroughly research and analyze lymphatic specialists near you as you did for your surgeon. Read reviews from past patients, check their social media if applicable, ask about how much experience they have helping tummy tuck patients throughout their healing journeys, and so on.