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  • Abby Maleport

Lymphatic drainage massage is a MUST HAVE before and after surgery

In Europe, lymphatic drainage is commonly prescribed by physicians and surgeons and is widely available in hospitals to speed healing and ease recovery after surgery. This technique, which was developed by Emil Vodder in the 1930s, was slow to gain traction in the medical profession. It wasn't until one German physician tested the effectiveness of lymphatic drainage techniques on 20,000 hospital patients, that the method became recognized as effective and widely utilized. I will highlight the major benefits of manual lymphatic drainage massage next. I think you will see that when it comes to optimal health and wellness, it is a no brainer.


  1. Edema reduction: Lymphatic drainage reroutes lymph fluid to alternative pathways untouched by surgery to allow for accelerated drainage, as opposed to the slow trickle of tissue fluids in the operative site. It is the gold standard treatment for edema reduction. Having 1-2 lymphatic drainage massages pre surgery can also reduce fluid accumulation post surgically because if you clear the congestion prior to surgery, it will allow for faster decongestion after surgery as the pathways are easily utilized and free of cellular debris.

  2. Pain management: As the pressure of the fluid is removed from surrounding tissue and nerves, pain reduces resulting in increased function and less need for pain medication.

  3. Infection prevention: Removing stagnant fluid before and after surgery can eliminate the environment by which bacteria can thrive. Lymphatic drainage removes toxins and macro-molecules while also stimulating local immunity.

  4. Scar tissue prevention: Lymph fluid left to build up under an incision can result in advanced scar tissue and fibrotic tissue. Removing this fluid can lead to a seamless scar.

  5. Bruising reduction: Bruising is an accumulation of cellular debris under the skin. It is comprised of dead cells as a result of the trauma of surgery. Cells are transported and eliminated solely by the lymphatic system and are eliminated 10 times faster with lymphatic drainage techniques, therefore speeding up the healing process.

  6. Faster healing time: With the increased circulation of cellular agents that rebuild tissue and remove debris, healing time is accelerated significantly. One particular study showed that without postsurgical decongestive therapy (lymphatic drainage) resolution of edema and healing time can last 9-18 months. With lymphatic drainage, edema and healing can be resolved within 6 weeks to 3 months.

So as you can see all of these benefits are immensely important for overall health and wellness post surgically. I know personally I want all of these 6 benefits applied to me and this is a MUST HAVE when faced with upcoming surgery. Whether the surgery is cosmetic, (face-lifts, breast augmentation, liposuction, BBL, fat transfers) or orthopedic (joint repair or replacements).


How many sessions might you need?

On average I recommend 1-2 sessions prior to surgery, anywhere from 1-7 days prior to surgery. After surgery it could take anywhere from 2-12 sessions to resolve the swelling and optimize healing and well being. A lot of circumstances surround the healing process, therefore making this an individualized process. Massage can begin 24 hours after surgery given there are no contraindications to massage like blood clots present.


I know the utilization and availability of this technique will certainly only continue to grow across America. I am so proud to be able to offer these services and help my clients speed recovery, improve esthetics and increase function after surgery.


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Fluid Motion Massage LLC

by Abby Maleport PTA, CLT, CPT

920-471-8042

1214 Red Maple Rd De Pere, WI 54115

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