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Post Surgery Edema

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage is often recommended by cosmetic surgeons during the recovery phase following liposuction. This specialized form of massage is generally believed to decrease recovery time and improve results by reducing post-surgical swelling and fibrosis. Manual lymphatic drainage is a one-hour sessions that is not painful and much more gentle than regular massage. Most patients find it very relaxing.


During the early period following liposuction surgery patients will experience swelling, bruising and discomfort. This is to be expected since liposuction is a relatively invasive procedure. Common forms of liposuction involve either injecting a significant amount of medicated fluid into the area or using ultrasonic vibration or laser to liquefy the fat, before suctioning it out using a sharp-ended vacuum tube (a ‘cannula’). These procedures can create significant tissue damage.


For best results, doctors may suggest that MLD be initiated in the first few days following surgery (within the first 5 days) because it could potentially help prevent the build-up of fluid and formation of scar tissue. The number of sessions will be determined by the therapist and patient based on the amount of swelling and bruising, patient responsiveness to treatment, and patient commitment to self-care practices. Generally, swelling may be greater than necessary if compression garments are removed too early, not applied properly or consistently, or not sized appropriately. Excessive fluid presence may slow recovery and/or make the results less aesthetically optimal by encouraging uneven healing and fibrosis. Uncontrolled swelling could potentially create other complications such as small pockets of fluid becoming trapped, inflammation, or infection.


Follow your doctor’s recommendations, including follow-up, to minimize your recovery time, optimize your results, and avoid potential complications. 


Types of Plastic Surgery

  • facelift
  • breast augmentation/ lift/ reduction/reconstruction
  • upper part of limbs
  • abdomen (abdominoplasty)
  • buttocks
  • lower back

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