Manual Lymph Drainage for Liposuction Patients

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) – Treatment for Liposuction Patients

Liposuction is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures. It’s a surgery that removes fat from various areas of the body via a suctioning technique. There are some procedures which then actually use the harvested fat and inject it into another part of the body (called a fat grafting procedure a common practice with breast reconstruction). The plastic surgeon can use fat grafting, removing fat (lipo) from the flanks/abdomen for example, and place the harvested fat around an implant to contour and make a more natural looking breast. Another common fat grafting procedure is the “Brazilian Butt Lift” (BBL) where fat is harvested from various parts of the body and then injected into the buttocks region.
No matter what type of lipo you’ve had, or for whatever reason, it’s common to have side effects from the treatment. More and more plastic surgeons are recommending MLD post liposuction to help with the side effects and to help improve the overall look and feel of effected tissue areas post lipo.
The common side effects that I see with my lipo patients are:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling (Edema)
  • Lumpy/uneven skin contour
  • General discomfort – Feeling of tightness
  • Fibrosis – hardening/scarring of the tissue

How can Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) help?

  • Reduces edema (swelling) which will reduce the tension and pain
  • Reduced fibrotic/scar tissue
  • Helps to remove waste materials from the surgical area – improves bruising
  • Circulates white blood cells to improve the healing process
  • Improves wellbeing and promotes relaxation


What to expect during treatment?

MLD is a very light form of massage where patients tend to feel quite relaxed during the treatment. The treatment promotes the drainage of fluid (lymph) through it’s natural drainage points in the body. One side effect of the treatment may be increased urination (the fluid has to go somewhere!).
I’m seeing more and more people who have had lipo out of country (outside of Canada) who have said they have had post op “Manual Lymph Drainage”. They have described the treatments where the therapist is actually pushing fluid out of the body through the incision sites. These procedures, I can imagine, are quite unpleasant and painful. I want to ensure that patients know that this is not something that a Vodder Certified Therapist does. At no time is fluid removed from the body. The techniques that are used, a pumping like technique that is a combination of skin stretch and release, helps to move the fluid along it’s natural path to be
processed by their own body. Patients tend to feel less tension and discomfort even after one treatment. Treatment plans will be determined after the initial assessment but weekly sessions are the general recommendation and usually between 6-8 treatments. Every patient is different as everyone heals at a different rate.
If you have any questions regarding MLD post liposuction, feel free to contact me at
By Karen Kingsley
Registered Massage Therapist
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Alpha Health Services Registered Massage Therapists

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