Post-Surgical Lymphatic Drainage
A working lymphatic system is essential to the body’s ability to regenerate tissues, drain fluids, filter out foreign substances and toxins, detoxify, and maintain a healthy immune system. The lymphatic system is complex and made up mostly of nodes and lymph vessels working together to achieve these aims. The lymph itself carries fatty acids, hormone cells, immune cells, proteins, and toxins to be processed by the lymph nodes. When the body is under stress, fatigued, experiencing infections, fighting a disease process, or—in certain cases—recovering from surgery, the process may be slowed down.
Cosmetic surgeries all produce swelling to some extent because it is part of the body’s normal healing process. Some cosmetic surgeries, such as liposuction procedures and tummy tucks, disrupt the natural pathways taken by the lymphatic system because of the location of the surgery. Other regions of the body, such as the nose after rhinoplasty, produce swelling that can last for a long time—even up to one year. Other cosmetic procedures that impact the face can also produce months of swelling. However, because of the extensive areas of disruption, tummy tucks and liposuction procedures are usually the cosmetic surgeries with the greatest amount of lymphatic swelling.
When the lymph drifts out into surrounding tissue after a surgical procedure disrupts the normal lymphatic pathways, swelling is the result.