Post-Surgical MLD FAQs

We often get asked questions about Lymphatic Drainage Treatments when used to aid in healing after surgery. We're happy to answer any questions you may have about the procedure, benefits, what you can expect during a session. Here are a few of the more common questions and answers to get you started.

Post Surgical Lymphatic Drainage Treatments

Post-Surgical MLD FAQs

VIVA Wellness water drop

We love this for so many reasons. First of all, you’ll get to experience VIVA Wellness, meet your post-surgical MLD provider, come up with a plan that works for you, and experience how your body reacts to lymphatic drainage treatments (We so that if it experiences detox symptoms you can be sure that this is not related to the surgery when you are experiencing it post-operatively). We want you to feel comfortable when you are in your post-surgical state.

From a healing standpoint, it is a great idea to get the lymph fluid moving because this will:

  • Lessen stress which puts the body into a more ideal, effective healing state and may simply be a welcome feeling if you have been experiencing any nerves pre-surgery
  • Gets the lymphatic system opened up and flowing, which means the roles and responsibilities of the lymphatic system are able to go a bit more smoothly, which in turn means your body is better able to cope with the surgery and healing that’s asked of it.

Pre-operatively: We recommend to do at least 2-3 sessions (vacuum or manual based on your unique situation) but at least one right before. Schedule this for the week before your procedure. We suggest booking this at the time you booked your post-surgery MLD.

Post-operatively: Ideally at least 3 appointments a week every other day. If that doesn't work for you, we can also schedule two days in a row. The primary goal in your post-surgery healing is making sure you are moving lymph fluid at least 3 times a week to make sure no build up happens.

  • The 12 pack will get you through 4 weeks post-op (4 sessions a week for the first 30 days)
  • The 16 pack will allow you to be seen for the total 40 days which will allow you to be assessed and monitored during the entire healing process.
  • If you have two surgery sites you will need the 16 pack to at least cover your recovery for the first 30 days for both areas.

The lymphatic system is not working 100%, which could possibly lead to longer healing and more complications. A slow or overtaxed lymphatic system may not only cause problems with the healing process, but overall stresses the entire body and its processes, namely detox and immune response.

You are empowering your body to heal better (faster, easier, more efficiently) and help it to process the increased protein buildup that will happen due to surgery. Healthy lymphatic system means more detoxifications which means less strain on the organs responsible for working with the effects of the surgery.

After surgery, fibrosis is the formation of scar tissue and adhesions under the skin that can cause hardening of the area, a lumpy appearance, and can lead to swelling of the surgical site. You didn't go through the surgical experience to see a new complication—so let’s avoid this! It will not always appear, but we have no way of knowing whether or not it will, as it would begin around day 14 post-surgery. It’s a lot easier to treat when caught immediately (if it’s been there longer will take more sessions and likely cavitation to really get rid of that collagen buildup), but it is greatly reduced by lymphatic drainage treatments.

The system is addressing the surgical site and takes stock of what needs to happen. It’s directing all resources to fight any pathogens. It’s also addressing protein build-up. When a traumatic event such as surgery happens, your body will release excess protein. Your lymphatic system also secretes protein as a byproduct – this protein is passed onto the liver for processing. This is also why we recommend castor oil packs pre-surgery since the liver is the organ that will tackle all that excess protein. The castor oil helps to unclog the liver and move these toxins out.

In our opinion and through the research and training we’ve done, lymphatic drainage treatments are excellent for wellness and healing pre and post-surgery. MOST surgeries. Depending on the procedure, again something that we’d want you to talk to our RN about, there’s a good chance that stagnant lymph has been working against the healing of the issue taking place. Moving lymph means an overall healthier body whether or not surgery is taking place. That said, it is especially beneficial, if not crucial, for those undergoing:

  • Breast augmentation, including explant or implant removals
  • Brazilian butt lift (BBL)
  • Tummy tuck
  • Liposuction or Lipo 360
  • Facelift
  • Mommy makeover
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Mastectomy or other breast cancer or related procedures

Cavitation can be started 40 days post surgery—this is a great option to further smooth the area and to help minimize the chance of the development of fibrosis. 

You may also consider an IV Vitamin Infusion or IM Vitamin Injection based on your unique history, but these may further support the lymphatic system, immune response, or overall wellness pre or post-surgery.

We very much suggest pre-surgery that you do all that’s within your available resources to be intentional with your health, detox, etc., so if it suits you to invest in Infrared Sauna, Colonics, and multiple LDTs, your body and results will thank you.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage Treatment with the post-operative component is an RN-offered experience that includes attention to wounds, assessing your overall health after a surgery. While we can’t speak for what the term “lymphatic massage” means by other procedures, this post-operation lymphatic drainage care from VIVA Wellness is a specialty that utilizes a nurse’s surgical experience to give robust support after a surgical experience. How many other LDT treatments will be able to oversee the healing process and help you understand if there are issues coming into play that may involve additional intervention, etc.? You are quite literally in excellent hands by investing in this service.

The surgery is booked, and you’re looking to invest in preparing your body for a smooth experience. In our perfect world, we’d love to see this for you, in terms of your lymphatic care.


  • Meet with our Lymphatic Specialist Nurse for a 30 minute consultation to review surgery, what to expect, etc. This is not required, but a great idea for planning your healing.
  • Schedule Manual Lymphatic Drainage (or Vacuum RF, per your unique situation) prior to surgery to “unclog pipes” and have everything moving properly pre-surgery. This will facilitate better overall healing. Pairing it with an Infrared Sauna or Colonic will give you an extra boost of detoxing. We have a full rundown of our suggested pre-surgery lymphatic care here.
  • This initial consult before surgery means we will best be able to guide you regarding when the first day would be that you can start MLD post-surgery. Is it the same day? 1-2 days after? This will depend on the procedure, your current health level, and any other risk factors and concerns that we identify together.
  • We’ll then book that first in-depth session and potentially the subsequent sessions.
  • Whether or not you opt into the initial consultation and pre-surgery drainage treatments, we would like you to book your appointments ahead of time (at least 2-3 weeks in advance).

Session One

  • In this session, we will evaluate, assess, take initial photos, and perform your first Manual Lymphatic Drainage Treatment. Expect this session to take about 2 hours at our Brookfield wellness clinic.
  • If at this appointment, you have not yet booked your subsequent appointments, we will do that. If you have and we determine that a different frequency is better suited, we will work to adjust that for you.

Subsequent Sessions

Whether you want to be extra cautious, have multiple surgical sites, or simply want to do the most you can for your healing body, we would suggest the 12 or 16 session package.

  • The 12 session package will get you through 4 weeks post-op (4 sessions a week for the first 30 days)
  • The 16 session package will allow you to be seen for the total 40 days which means you will be assessed and monitored by our nurse during the entire healing process.
  • If you have two surgery sites you will need the 16 session package to cover your recovery for the first 30 days for both areas.

It's never too late! While your protocol might be different from the Treatment Protocol we describe more generally, we highly encourage you to schedule a consultation to determine the best course for your body. Within the consultation, we'll determine how many sessions may be in order, how many areas need the drainage, and how we can align our plan to get you the best results! If you choose to more casually receive a session here and there, your body will certainly benefit, but we can't ensure that you'll achieve your post-surgical goals since we're not supporting the body in the way that the system would prefer in the healing process.

It's important to note that we do not treat Lymphedema, which is a swelling affecting your lymphatic system, often in the arms and legs. There is no known cure for lymphedema.

If you have other questions, be in touch! Call, text, or book your 30 minute consultation to determine the best course of action with your lymphatic drainage treatment.

Contact us to book and appointment or consultation in Brookfield, WI.

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