When preparing for a plastic surgery procedure, it's just as important to research your aftercare as it is to select the best plastic surgeon. You want to know how to properly take care of the investment you just made in your body. When properly followed for, your aftercare plan is what will get you looking and feeling better - faster. At Mend, we are goal oriented - your goals are our goals.
After surgery, you will likely be quite swollen for the first few weeks. This is known as the inflammatory stage of healing. All of that excess fluid is going to make you feel uncomfortable. You will feel tight and stiff. That's the body's normal response to the surgery, as well as any retained tumescent fluid. After your first couple of massages, you will feel relieved and you will notice that you are urinating a lot more than normal. Plan on having 2-3 MLD sessions your first week post op for relief from the swelling.
After the "watery" edema subsides, some clients find that they feel firmness in the surgically treated areas. This is the "proliferation stage" of healing. Your body is now working hard to reapir the surgically treated areas. This is the most important stage to receive lymphatic drainage as it will facilitate your body's healing in a smoother and more uniform way.
The next step is called the remodeling stage of healing. It is important to continue with your massages through this time to ensure that the scar tissue does not thicken or arrange itsself in a haphazard manner.
Ensuring a Speedy Recovery
Ensuring a Speedy Recovery
There is no shortage of information and opinions on the internet. It's easy to spend hours on YouTube and social media deep diving into "tips" and stories about how people recovered from their surgery. I caution against this for a number of reasons, the first one being that the vast majority of these videos are posted by folks with zero training in medicine, massage therapy, or the lymphatic system. If you spend two years researching which surgeon you'd like to work with, at least part of that time should be spent on finding out what recommendations they make for aftercare protocol. Then, you need to budget and plan to follow it. Make sure that plan is specific to your body and healthcare needs.
If your aftercare plan calls for manual lymphatic drainage, be sure to seek treatment with a properly trained certified lymphedema therapist (CLT) or certified manual lymphatic drainage therapist (CMLDT) and know the difference between the two. A CLT has received medical level education with a mandatory minimum of 135 hours of training in the anatomy and physiology of the lymphatic system. Approximately 35 hours of the theoretical coursework is online; 100 hours of the training is required to be live and hands on in the classroom. CLTs are trained to treat patients with lymphedema.
A CMLDT receives approximately 40 hours of training. This training may or may not be offered online in combination with live instruction. Since there is no set standard for CMLDT training, it depends on the school the therapist attends. Those who complete this course are not trained to treat patients with lymphedema.
It is important to interview the person you're seeking your aftercare with. Ask your post op massage therapist 1. if they are a licensed massage therapist 2. if they are a CLT or CMLDT and 3. if they received their instruction online or in person. If the therapist is not licensed, do not hire them. If you wouldn't hire an unlicensed doctor to perform your surgery, why would you hire an unlicensed massage therapist to perform your post op massages? If they have received their "certificate" via online instruction only, do not hire them. They are not sufficiently trained to treat post surgical clients. The risk of developing complications is very real. You absolutely do not want someone manipulating your body if they are not properly trained and well seasoned in their discipline.