Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD), also known as Lymphatic Massage, is a hands-on technique that helps the body naturally reduce inflammation. There are many reasons why the body may be inflamed and benefit from lymph massage. People may have a genetic predisposition, autoimmune disease, or a chronic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. Some may be undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments, managing injury or recovering from surgery. Hand in Health Massage Therapy in North Syracuse and Downtown Syracuse will discuss the benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Therapy for post surgery.


What is Lymphatic Massage?

Manual Lymph Drainage is a light manual technique that will be used to gently direct lymph fluid towards the body’s lymph nodes. Lymphatic Massage is an effective treatment that gives the immune system support by encouraging excess waste, or inflammation, to leave the body. For a more detailed discussion of general Lymphatic Massage read our May 2022 Blog: Lymphatic Massage: What Is it and Why You Should Try It.

The Massage Therapist will use gentle, rhythmic movements to stimulate and encourage the flow of lymphatic fluid. The massage may be focused on specific areas of the body, such as the affected limb or surgical site.


Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Post-Surgery

After surgery, the Lymphatic system can become overwhelmed and the buildup of fluids can lead to swelling and discomfort. The benefits of Lymphatic Massage after surgery are numerous. Here are just a few of the most common reasons to book an appointment when undergoing surgery:

Reducing pain and inflammation by reducing fluid retention and swelling and helping to prevent fibrosis.

Reducing scar tissue by speeding up the healing process, helping the removal of cellular debris and reducing swelling/bruising.

Decreasing the risk of infection by improving the immune response.

Improves skin texture and tone by boosting the healing responses of the body.


Before and After Lymphatic Massage for Liposuction and Knee Replacement


When Should I Schedule My Post-Surgery Lymphatic Massage?

For orthopedic surgeries, appointments may be scheduled as soon as 24 hours after surgery. For plastic surgeries, as soon as 48 hours after surgery. This schedule assumes that surgery has been a success and clearance has been given by a Doctor to receive Lymphatic Drainage Therapy. 

Many patients see the best results when they schedule one or two Lymphatic Massages before surgery. Lymphatic Massage pre-surgery will help clear the body of excess waste and prepare the immune system. Pre-surgical appointments should not be within 48 hours of surgery. The Lymphatic System is slow-moving and the effects of a treatment may be felt for 24-48 hours after a treatment. 

Once a week Manual Lymph Drainage appointments are typically recommended for the first month post-surgery. Afterwards, bi-weekly appointments for the second month are often all that is required. Continued treatment may be scheduled on an as-needed basis after that. A more precise schedule will be determined between a Lymphatic Massage Therapist and Patient during the first consultation and treatment. 


Contraindications to Lymphatic Massage

Congestive heart failure, renal failure or liver damage

Acute Deep Vein Thrombosis

Acute Bronchitis

Any active infection or fever. There is a high risk of spreading infection through the body Therefore, it is best to wait 3-5 days, at least, before scheduling a Lymphatic Massage. It is best to be cleared by a Doctor or wait until symptoms have subsided. 


Post Surgery Recovery

When choosing a Lymphatic Specialist, it is important to do your research. The best Providers have certifications that qualify them to perform Lymphatic Drainage Massage. Although Lymphatic manual treatments use light pressure, it has a powerful effect on the body. Without proper knowledge of the Lymphatic system, adverse reactions may occur. There are several different types of techniques when it comes to Lymphatic Massage. However, every style will utilize a light pressure. There will never be any pain or ‘pushing’ fluid around the body. 

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is beneficial after orthopedic and plastic surgeries by speeding up the healing process, reducing swelling and scar tissue build-up.  Some examples of surgeries that benefit from Lymphatic Massage include:

Knee replacement and repair


Hip replacement and repair

Brazilian Butt Lifts

Rotator Cuff repair

Breast augmentation/reduction


Tummy Tucks

Mommy Makeovers (multiple plastic surgeries at once)

Gender affirmation surgeries 

Facial plastic surgery (rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, facelift)

At this time, we are not accepting cool sculpting or air sculpting patients. 


Schedule Your Post Surgical Lymphatic Massage

Are you thinking about or awaiting a surgery in the near future? Have you had surgery and are experiencing a hard time recovering? Let the Lymphatic Massage Professionals at Hand in Health Massage Therapy help. Schedule your Initial Exam and Treatment today in North Syracuse or Downtown Syracuse now!


Licensed Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher Licensed in 2018 | Favorite Treatments: Therapeutic Massage, Pregnancy, Stretching | Certifications: Medical Cupping Practitioner, Manual Lymphatic Drainage. Katy’s style of massage is a blend of relaxation and therapeutic treatments to help resolve issues such as stress, anxiety, chronic pain and joint stiffness. She also uses her education as a Yoga teacher by offering one-on-one training to assist others live their lives fully through the freedom of movement.