Lymphatic Drainage FAQs

By: Dr. Lawrence Iteld


If you’ve had (or are planning) a body contouring procedure, Dr. Iteld may recommend lymphatic drainage massage afterwards. That’s because lymphatic massage stimulates your body’s natural drainage process to speed up removal of excess fluid and swelling. Patients often have questions about this medical massage technique. Here are the most commonly asked ones:

What is it?

Lymphatic drainage is a massage therapy that stimulates the lymphatic system, which is responsible for removing waste and toxins from the body. The massage uses gentle, rhythmic movements to help move lymph fluid through the lymphatic system to be flushed out, promoting detoxification and reducing swelling and inflammation.

How is it performed?

It is typically performed by a trained therapist who uses manual techniques. The therapist uses gentle, rhythmic strokes to stimulate the lymphatic system and encourage the movement of lymphatic fluid. The strokes are typically performed in a specific sequence, starting by activating all the major lymph nodes on the body. Some therapists use specialized machines that apply mechanical pressure. These machines use inflatable sleeves or boots that apply pressure to the limbs, similar to a massage. Although some people perform self-massage techniques to promote lymphatic drainage, we do not recommend this following surgery. Leave it to the professionals!

Why have lymphatic drainage?

Overall, lymphatic drainage can be a valuable tool in promoting healing and reducing discomfort after plastic surgery. It is important following some body contouring surgeries because it helps…

  • your body drain trapped excess fluids. This reduces the risk of infection and promotes healing.
  • deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to the affected area, which aides in new tissue regeneration.
  • remove waste products from the body’s tissues, which can reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • decrease recovery time and improve results, by reducing post-surgical swelling and fibrosis (scar tissue formation)

Which procedures should follow up with lymphatic drainage massage?

It is especially effective following most body contouring procedures, including:

  • Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty
  • Liposuction
  • Fat Transfer
  • Arm/Leg Lift
  • Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL)
  • Facelift
  • Chin Liposuction
  • Breast Augmentation
  • Mastectomy/Breast Reconstruction

Who performs it?

We do not offer lymphatic drainage in our offices. Instead, Dr. Iteld refers to various expert physiotherapists and medical masseurs with special training in performing manual lymphatic drainage.

Ask us about lymphatic drainage

Interested in learning if lymphatic drainage massage is right for you? Please contact our experienced patient coordinators to schedule your confidential consultation. Contact us or send us an email at [email protected]. ________ Lawrence Iteld, MD, is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the Illinois Society of Plastic Surgery. A highly regarded Chicago based plastic surgeon, Dr. Iteld has received awards from Chicago Magazine’s Top Docs, and Castle Connolly Top Doctors®, and is a Key Opinion Leader with Allergan Aesthetics.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.