December 6, 2021 Sarah Donnelly

Lymphatic Drainage & Cosmetic Post-Surgical Massage

What are they and which do I need?

So you’ve arrived at home after your cosmetic surgery. Your doctor said something about getting lymphatic drainage massages ‘if you need them’. You have no idea what that is, or how you know if you need them. And so you find people in your area offering lymphatic massage, but have no idea how to tell if they’re what you need. They all sound so different, and the prices are so different too. Your surgeon’s office isn’t much help, and neither is a Google search.

Here’s your quick guide to getting post surgical massages.

First off: what is a lymphatic drainage massage?

This is a specialized type of massage which treats edema, or excess swelling under the skin. This type of massage is also used to detox the body’s systems in cases of toxicity. It can be used as a general health massage, but mostly it’s used for patients who have something called Lymphedema, which is when the lymphatic system is not strong enough to keep the lymph flowing. This can occur after cancer treatments which damage or remove lymph nodes (important hubs of activity within the lymphatic system). People sometimes have general edema because it runs in their family, or from digestive or hormonal problems. It can be a temporary or an ongoing issue.

Do I need lymphatic drainage massage after surgery?

Now this is a very important question! Lymphatic drainage massage can be useful after different types of surgery, but the type of massage you need after cosmetic surgery is very different from regular lymphatic drainage massage.

I think this needs a repeat: the type of massage you need after cosmetic surgery is very different from regular lymphatic drainage massage.

In fact, we can call it something different to ease the confusion. This guide will refer to Cosmetic Post-Surgical massage as CPS.

What is Cosmetic Post-Surgical (CPS) massage and do I need it?

CPS is a very specific treatment for patients who are recovering from Cosmetic surgery procedures. It might include lymphatic drainage massage, but it will also include a lot of other modalities (like cavitation, ultrasound, radiofrequency, myofascial release, acupuncture, cupping, etc) to meet the needs after a very specific medical procedure.

It is extremely important to understand that your treatments as you recover from a cosmetic surgery will change as your body changes. The treatment you get 1 week post surgical will be VERY different from the treatment your body needs 4 weeks post surgical, no matter what procedure you received. You need and deserve a therapist who has the training to understand this.

Do I need a Cosmetic Post-Surgical (CPS) massage?

You probably have a friend, or know a friend of a friend, or saw someone on boards talk about how they didn’t get any lymphatic drainage massages and they were fine. Sometimes there are no therapists near you and you have to go without. But if you’re lucky enough to have therapists nearby to choose from – how do you know if it’s something you actually need?

If you’re

  • Swollen
  • In pain
  • Have hard areas

Then you would get a lot of relief from a Cosmetic Post-Surgical massage.

If you already received lymphatic drainage massage after your cosmetic surgery, you haven’t done anything wrong, and you won’t do any damage to your results. You received a treatment which helps your recovery no matter what, but you’ve probably noticed that the results are hard to notice and don’t give you any lasting relief. Your Cosmetic Post Surgical treatment should give you dramatic immediate and lasting relief.

How do I find a therapist who specializes in Cosmetic Post-Surgical massage?

Read their website and bio! At the very least, the practitioner should be a Certified Massage Therapist with extra training in lymphatic drainage AND Cosmetic procedures (two different trainings). Not every massage therapist receives this extra training as part of their schooling, it is a specialty.

Sarah Donnelly

L.A.c, MSTCM, CMT