Lymphatic Drainage Massage (LDM) is a specialized massage technique that is recommended by plastic surgeons, after liposuction, to accelerate the recuperation period.
The science behind why this massage works is fairly simple. Stroking the areas of the body that process the lymph fluid, and the lymph nodes, causes the fluid to drain.
This massage procedure works well and has been demonstrated to show positive results, only after a couple of massage treatments! However, most patients need 4 to 6 LDM treatments to remove most of the excess fluid. Patients can expect relief from swelling after the 6th treatment.
Some patients will experience lumpiness to the areas affected with liposuction. This is normal for most patients after surgery. The lumpiness is caused by inflammation and trauma from the surgical instrument that is used under the skin to extract the fatty tissue. The tunnels and channels which are created by the surgical instrument will fill with fluid and become swollen with both fluid and left-over fat. This fluid and left-over fat tends to begin to harden between one week and three weeks after surgery. LDM will help move the fluid by gently pushing back into the lymph passages.
Doctors will advise their patients that, without LDM, there is a risk that the swelling and inflammation could turn into fibrosis, which is a permanent hardening of the area. LDM ensures you’ll achieve the best results possible from the surgery.
Every patient is different, however, most doctors advise their patients to begin their LDM treatment after the 4th or 5th day after surgery to obtain the best, and fastest, results.
A professional LDM massage therapist will know exactly what to do. He/she will massage in right place and with the right amount of pressure. However, this can be a DIY project at home, if you so choose. Here are some high-level instructions on how best to perform a ‘Self-Lymphatic-Massage’.
• Place index and middle fingers in the indent area, just above the collarbone.
• Gently move the fingers up onto the neck area.
• Gently rub in a clockwise fashion in the direction of your chest.
• Make sure to drive the lymph toward the node. This will encourage the lymph fluid to flush throughout the body.
• Press and pull, firmly, the skin under the armpit in the direction of the neck. Repeat this motion several times.
• Using a flat hand, massage the complete thigh area in the direction of the inner knee. Do not apply heavy pressure, as this will risk flattening the nodes.
• Finally, massage the back of the knee in a pushing, and scooping, motion.
It is very important, during your consultation with Dr. William J. Binder, M.D., F.A.C.S., that you ask questions before embarking down the path of Self Lymphatic Massage.