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Massage Aha!

Professional therapeutic massage therapy in Kansas City, MO by Aaron Harris, BCTMB

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Lymphatic Drainage Massage Following Surgery


Lymphatic Drainage (LD) massage is an effective treatment following surgery. This type of massage helps reduce swelling and aids in the proper formation of scar tissue.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage following surgery
A surgeon performing a liposuction procedure.

LD is especially recommended by plastic surgeons for patients who have undergone liposuction, tummy tucks, face lifts, and implant placements or removals.

This treatment may also be recommended by general surgeons following any surgery that involves the endocrine or gastro-intestinal systems. This can include gall bladder removal, polyp removal, lumpectomies, mastectomies, appendix removal, thyroid resections, and gastric bypass surgeries.

Experience Matters

I have years of experience working with post-surgical clients. My practice in California included dozens of patients who had undergone liposuction and other cosmetic procedures.

I have worked with many cancer patients who had lymph nodes removed as part of their oncology treatments.

While most massage therapists receive basic LD technique training, many are uncomfortable working with clients that require this specialized care.

My past experience as a paramedic working in hospitals helps with proper infection control and following medical protocols.

I have advanced knowledge of anatomy and physiology. I hold licenses in California, Missouri, and Kansas. I am also Nationally Board Certified.

"Aaron was professional, timely and courteous. He had a job and he did it. I had a Lymphatic Massage after my Lipo procedure and he answered all my questions and concerns. I woke up the morning after feeling stiff but not tight. Definitely would recommend him and the convenience of coming to my home was even better since I was not feeling well."
Bertha R.
Kansas City, Feb. 2022

My Lymphatic Drainage Massage Treatment Plan

This plan has been developed over several years of working with clients following surgeries. I have also worked with a prominent Beverly Hills plastic surgeon to maximize the desired results.

The entire post-surgical lymphatic drainage treatment plan consists of a total of six one-hour sessions on a specific time table.

Example Surgery Date Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Session 4 Session 5 Session 6
July 1
July 4/5
July 8/9
July 16
July 23
July 30
August 6
Lymphatic System
The Lymphatic System that can be addressed post-surgery.

Your First Lymphatic Drainage Massage Following Surgery

You should schedule your first lymphatic drainage session four to five days following surgery. This session has the following goals:

  • Thorough medical history
    • This should include medical conditions, purpose of surgery, current medications, experience with prior surgeries, and current chief complaints.
  • Surgical site inspection and evaluation
    • I will examine the surgical site noting any signs of excessive swelling, bruising, and any signs of infection.
  • Assessment
    • Physical examination of the entire body noting any areas of fluid retention, enlarged lymph nodes, tender points, and postural issues.
  • Lymphatic drainage
    • Your position on the table will mostly depend on the site of your surgery and your tolerance to lying on your back, stomach, or side.
    • LD massage is performed by manipulating the extremities (arms and legs) first. This type of massage is very gentle, as the structures involved lie just below the surface of the skin.
    • Legs: Working from the foot toward the abdomen, specific attention is paid to the ankles, the popliteal space (behind the knee), and the inner thigh.
    • Arms: Working from the wrist toward the chest, specific attention to the inside of the upper arm and axilla (armpit).
    • Head and Neck: Particular focus under the jawline and along the clavicle.
    • Abdomen: Beginning at the waistline and working clockwise with gentle palpation and drainage with specific focus on the spleen and large intestine.
  • Wrap-up
    • Assistance with devices, compression garments (faja), and wound dressings
    • After-care instructions
  • Schedule Second LD Session
    • Your second lymphatic drainage session should be scheduled for 4 days later.


The second lymphatic drainage massage should occur on day 8, 9, or 10 following surgery. This session will not require the extensive history of the first, but has similar goals.

If tolerated, some initial gentle scar tissue alignment will be done near the surgical site.


These sessions should be scheduled one week apart. By this point, you should be able to tolerate lying on your stomach and back. Your incisions should be entirely closed and healing nicely. You may still have some tender spots and/or numbness which you should tell me about. In addition to continuing the lymph drainage work, these sessions will also include:

  • Scar Tissue Manipulation
    • Gentle manipulation of the fascia and tissue around the surgical site to promote the proper alignment and formation of scar tissue.
  • Muscular Manipulation
    • Gentle assessment and massage to muscles that may be sore or fatigued as a result of the healing process. This can include support muscles that have been required to work harder to protect painful areas. This work will be performed within your pain tolerance and should not hurt.


  1. Hydration.
    • It is vitally important that you stay hydrated. Increasing your water intake will help flush toxins from anesthesia through your system and will help with proper scar tissue formation. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these may dehydrate you as well as interact with any medications you are taking.
  2. Skin Care.
  3. Supplements.
    • Supplemental vitamins EC, and D, as well as collagen and biotin may be recommended by your doctor.
  4. Wound Care.
    • Closely follow your doctor’s recommendations on wound drainage and dressing changes. They may advise you to apply an anti-bacterial ointment such as Neosporin. Most of the time you will be on an oral antibiotic which will make this unnecessary.
  5. Pain Management.
    • Take pain medications as directed by your surgeon. It is important to follow the schedule closely to avoid undeserved pain as well as any addictive qualities. Over the counter NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin can handle most post-surgical pain in the second and following weeks.
"I’ve been having weekly lymphatic massages with Aaron for several weeks now and would highly recommend him! He’s helped me with my water retention after surgery and breaking down my scar tissue!"
Terri D.
Kansas City, Feb. 2022



Many surgeons will recommend or require that you wear a faja or compression garment at the surgical site. They may also prescribe the use of a compression board to promote the adherence of the fascia and skin to underlying muscle tissues.


This shapewear should be quite tight and can prove difficult to put on or take off. During our scheduled sessions I can assist you with removing and replacing these garments.




As part of your “surgical recovery team,” I am able to provide progress reports to your surgeon. With your written permission, I can share my treatment notes and/or progress photos to your doctor’s office. This is especially helpful when you have traveled out of state or to another country for your procedure.


Your doctor may also contact me to provide any directions or specific techniques they would like me to perform.

"Aaron is both professional and knowledgeable. I had to get massages from him for a medical reason and he did not disappoint! He knew exactly what was needed and answered every question I had, weekly, a lot of them! Wouldn’t recommend anyone else, he is it if you’re looking to just relax or if you need medical therapy! Also great and super personable, thank you Aaron!"
Sasha B.
Overland Park, KS Aug. 2021


In some cases, lymphatic drainage massage is reimbursable by health insurance. This is most often true when the massage is prescribed by your doctor following non-elective surgeries.

My National Provider Identification number is listed on all payment receipts which can make the reimbursement process easier.

If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) with a debit card, you can use it to pay for your massage treatments.


The treatment plan is available at a discount as a pre-paid series on my booking site. You may also pay-as-you-go for full price.

If you wish to pre-pay for the discount, simply visit the Special Offers link. Don’t forget to select whether you wish to come to my home office in Raytown or if you prefer that I travel to your home.

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