In-Depth Look at the Potential Side Effects and Adverse Reactions of Lymphatic Massage Post Plastic Surgery

In-Depth Look at the Potential Side Effects and Adverse Reactions of Lymphatic Massage Post Plastic Surgery

Lymphatic massage is a recommended therapeutic technique following plastic surgery to aid in recovery and reduce swelling. While it has many benefits, being aware of its potential side effects and adverse reactions is crucial for anyone undergoing this treatment. Here's an expanded and detailed analysis:

Mild Side Effects

1. Fatigue: This is a common side effect due to the body's process of detoxification and relaxation during the massage. The stimulation of the lymphatic system can lead to a release of toxins, which may temporarily make you feel tired as your body works to eliminate these substances.

2. Headaches: Changes in body fluid levels, especially due to the movement of lymph fluids, can sometimes result in mild headaches. This is typically a temporary reaction as your body adjusts to the changes post-massage.

3. Nausea: Although rare, some individuals might experience nausea after a lymphatic massage session. This can occur due to the release of toxins from the tissues as lymphatic drainage is facilitated. It's usually a transient reaction and should subside on its own.

More Serious Concerns

1. Infection Risk: The risk of infection is a significant concern, especially in areas with surgical incisions. If lymphatic massage is not performed correctly or in unhygienic conditions, it can introduce bacteria to vulnerable areas, leading to infection.

2. Lymphedema Worsening: In certain cases, especially if the massage is not done correctly, there's a risk of worsening lymphedema – a condition characterized by the accumulation of lymph fluid. It's essential to have a skilled therapist who understands the complexities of post-surgical lymphatic drainage.

3. Blood Clot Risk: Although rare, there is a small risk that massaging too close to a surgical site could dislodge a blood clot. This is a serious concern and should be discussed with your healthcare provider before beginning lymphatic massage therapy.

Precautions and Recommendations

1. Professional Guidance: To mitigate these risks, it's crucial to seek a certified and experienced therapist, particularly one specialized in post-surgical lymphatic drainage. They will understand the appropriate techniques and pressure levels to use.

2. Consult Your Surgeon: Always consult with your plastic surgeon before starting lymphatic massage. They can provide tailored advice based on your specific surgical procedure and recovery status.

3. Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is essential. Adequate hydration helps in the movement of lymph fluid, aiding in the detoxification process and reducing the likelihood of adverse effects.

4. Monitor Your Body: It's vital to be attentive to how your body responds to the treatment. Report any unusual or prolonged symptoms to your therapist or doctor immediately.


Lymphatic massage can be a beneficial part of recovery post plastic surgery, but it's important to be aware of and manage its potential side effects and risks. Through professional guidance, personal vigilance, and open communication with healthcare providers, you can safely incorporate lymphatic massage into your recovery plan.