Benefit of Lymphatic Massage After Tummy Tuck?

I am almost 4 weeks post op of full tummy tuck with muscle repair and breast lift. I have some swelling still, but overall feel like I am recovering within the normal range. I have read posts of patients having post surgical lymphatic message to expedite the healing process. What is the opinion of the doctors on this site? I am going to ask my PS also before doing anything of course, but wanted to know what there doctors here advise. Also, are there any other things to aid in faster recovery?

Doctor Answers 11

Not necessary

Lymphatic massage is usually not useful after this type of surgery. Check with your surgeon of course but I do not do this. Best of luck.

Long Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Massage reasonable 6 weeks post-op.

It’s not unusual for patients to experience significant swelling following abdominoplasty.This swelling occurs for a variety of reasons including fluid retention and disruption of the normal lymphatic channels.In some cases, swelling persists for prolonged periods of time and is associated with post-operative discomfort.Under these circumstances, it’s appropriate to consider lymphatic massage.
In the early post-operative period, compression garments are utilized to minimize swelling.Compression garments are typically worn for three to six weeks following surgery.At six weeks, it’s reasonable to consider lymphatic massage if residual swelling is still present.
Before proceeding with this technique, it’s important that the wound edges be sealed and surgical drains be removed.It’s also important that lymphatic massage be performed by an experienced therapist.This minimizes the potential for complications such as wound separation.
Patients who have prolonged post-operative swelling should discuss this treatment with their plastic surgeon.Their surgeon should be able to tell them if lymphatic massage is appropriate for them.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 193 reviews

Lymphatic Massage beneficial after Tummy Tuck



Since you are 4 weeks post op, lymphatic drainage massage may be beneficial in reducing the swelling. However if you are still experiencing pain or discomfort, this may limit how aggressive the lymphatic drainage massage can be performed. I would definitely recommend a discussion with your plastic surgeon before doing it.




Stewart Wang, MD FACS

Stewart Wang, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Lymphatic Massage Aids Recovery

Lymphatic drainage massage techniques have helped many of my patients.

When done properly, massage aids reduction of swelling and congestion, leading to improved circulation in the surgical areas.

Many of my patients report how good the massage feels and how much improvement they see and feel after lymphatic massage.

Ask your surgeon for a referral to a massage therapist with experience and skills in performing these techniques on someone post-op from cosmetic surgery.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Lymphatic massage after tummy tuck

As long as you are healed well enough to tolerate it, it may help. However, always check with your plastic surgeon to see if he/she has any specific post operative protocols.

Bryan Correa, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Lymphatic massage

It is best to check with your surgeon, as you are planning to do. That said, at four weeks it would probably be ok to go for lymphatic massage - if you have residual swelling you may benefit from this.

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 144 reviews

Lymphatic Massage 4 Weeks after Tummy Tuck

    Lymphatic massage may be of benefit, but the massage at 4 weeks should be carefully orchestrated.  The incision should have healed, and healing must have been uneventful. 

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 482 reviews

Lymphatic Massage After Surgery

Thank you for your question.

I am glad that you are saying that you will be checking with your surgeon because he/she is the one who knows you and your case best.

In general, lymphatic massage can be helpful. You need to make sure that it is performed by an experienced therapist and that you are at a point in your recovery that it will not do any harm.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,460 reviews

Benefits of lymphatic massage

I generally recommend lymphatic massage to my patients after liposuction.  After a tummy tuck, I would be more wary on any aggressive massage.  Since you are now 4 weeks out after surgery, you may be able to tolerate a slightly more aggressive massage but I would be careful.  Please get advice from your surgeon.

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Post Operative Lymphatic Massage Beneficial In Recovery

Thank you for the question. You are obviously very early in your healing. The first 3 months of this period is marked by inflammation caused by the body's response to surgery as well as the disruption of lymphatic vessels. This swelling will resolve spontaneously as the body heals itself from the surgery. A lymphatic massage, when done by an experienced therapist, will aid in the facilitation of lymphatic drainage from the surgical site. Other benefits of this therapy include an increase in the blood supply to the region and the fact that it is very soothing and relaxing to the patient. Patients will also see a definite amelioration in their contour initially after the massage.

However, lymphatic massage does not decrease your healing time. Healing is a very complex series of events which take place over 12 to 18 months in order for the tissue that has been wounded, whether by accident or on purpose (surgery), to regain its' tensile strength. At this point in time there are no therapies or remedies which will effectively reduce the time needed for a patient to heal.

I hope this helps. Best wishes.

Pedro M. Soler, Jr., MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.