Plastic Surgeons


Praise From a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon:

I will certainly keep you in mind if I have future surgery patients that may necessitate postoperative lymphatic drainage near you.  – Kristina Tansavatdi, MD Tansavatdi Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery, Westlake Village, CA

About Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT

Whether I am performing manual lymphatic drainage to reduce swelling a few weeks after a client’s tummy tuck or giving a deeper massage to relax sore back muscles a month after surgery to let her stand straighter, I have the same top priority –

Keep the incision area safe!

Manual Lymphatic Drainage can be an effective part of post-surgery healing for liposuction, Brazilian butt lift, facelift, tummy tuck and “mommy makeover” clients. I ensure client safety by following a strict massage protocol that includes:

No massage directly over scar until healed.

Manual lymphatic drainage massage utilized in adjacent areas without movement of the scar. Myofascial and fibrosis massage techniques used on other areas of the body as needed.

Client positioned on the table so as not to place body weight pressure on scars until healed.

Client positioned on the table with head properly elevated and bolster under knees.

I am a board-certified massage therapist specializing in the reduction of swelling and pain and providing safe, effective massage for people of all genders after plastic surgery and to those with a diagnosis of lipedema and lymphedema. I am certified in Manual Lymphatic Drainage massage and have taken the higher level of training to also hold the title of Certified Lymphedema Therapist.

In addition to my manual lymphatic drainage and oncology massage training, I am a MMI Certified Meditation Instructor. I have served as a Primary Instructor at the International Professional School of Bodywork in San Diego, teaching a meditation and mindfulness class and assistant teaching the college’s Adapting Massage for Special Populations Class.

Are Your Clients Feeling Anxiety before their upcoming operation? Are they concerned about taking pain medication after their surgery?

Preparing for surgery can be a very stressful time, and stress has a negative effect on our immune system. I offer workshops on a relaxation protocol developed by psychotherapist, researcher and Harvard Divinity School graduate Peggy Huddleston. The techniques outlined in her book Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster offer a step-by-step plan for patients looking to reduce pre-operative anxiety and their need for pain medication after their operation.

What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage massage?

Manual Lymphatic Drainage, also known as lymphatic massage and MLD, is a technique developed by Emil Vodder in the South of France over 100 years ago and brought to the United States by German instructors from the Foeldi Clinic, including my teacher, Guenter Klose. MLD massage uses light pressure and specific strokes to increase the flow of lymph in the body. The powerful but gentle technique is designed to detoxify the body of excess lymph fluid in patients with lymphedema. It is also used to reroute lymphatic fluid and reduce swelling after plastic or orthopedic surgery.

Meet Kathleen

Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT


Recovering from plastic or orthopedic surgery can be a stressful time for some patients. ‘Type A’ personalities simply don’t want to hear that in time, swelling will go down on its own and they should just be patient.

I am a 47-year old board certified massage therapist with advanced training in Manual Lymphatic Drainage. Having reconstructive surgery on my face after a skiing accident and, a few years later, Moh’s surgery to remove skin cancer on my cheek taught me the importance of choosing a qualified surgeon. As a ‘Type A’ personality myself, I did everything I could to help myself heal after I left the operating room.

Giving manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage to clients after tummy tuck and facelift procedures has shown me the positive emotional benefits that come from reducing the heavy, tight feeling that can sometimes come with post-surgical swelling.

I provide safe, compassionate manual lymphatic drainage to people of all genders in my office at 5755 Oberlin Drive in San Diego, CA. I usually see a client for the first treatment one week after surgery. Clients report feeling the most improvement when receiving MLD massage twice a week and following all of their surgeon’s post-surgery recommendations regarding compression garments and activity restrictions.

A few weeks to a month or two after surgery, clients also benefit from deeper massage strokes that soothe tight shoulder and lower back muscles, especially ‘mommy makeover’ clients. Massage is delivered side-lying and supine, and the same precautions are taken to keep the incision area safe.

One of my clients said “I highly recommend Kathleen. I have seen her twice so far and have greatly benefited. She is very knowledgeable, soft-spoken and soothing. Her technique has helped me along in my recovery greatly, I definitely plan of referring her to any loved one.”

I look forward to working with you and your clients.


How to Work With Kathleen

I have had the pleasure of working with several plastic surgeons located throughout California. I look forward to working with you!

If you would like to pay for your San Diego-based client’s MLD treatment:

  • Please contact me at 619-880-6538. I can perform the treatment in my office and bill your practice.  I accept check and credit card payments and will email a receipt for your records.

  • I will have the client sign an authorization to release their medical record and send your office the client’s personalized Massage Therapy Care Plan for your records with details on their course of treatment and the adaptions I am making to ensure their safe recovery.

  • My practice’s NPI number is #1942751136.

If you would like to refer clients for MLD treatment:

  • Please give them this website address. If you contact me, I can provide a flyer explaining the treatment in more detail via email, fax or mail. Please contact me at 619-880-6538 for more information.

  • MLD treatments usually begin one week after the surgery date. Many clients find that twice-weekly massage works well for their schedules and for reducing the heavy, tight feeling of swelling. The client’s HSA or FSA may reimburse for massage with a physician’s written prescription. My NPI number is #1942751136.

  • I will have the client sign an authorization to release their medical record and send your office the client’s personalized Massage Therapy Care Plan for your records with details on their course of treatment and the adaptions I am making to ensure their safe recovery.

If you would like me to speak to your group:

  • I would love to speak to your group about recovering from plastic or orthopedic surgery or the benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage.  Please contact me to  let me know more about your group and set up a date by emailing me at

About Kathleen

Troy Record: Troy Woman, Husband to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

SpareFoot: Starting Over in a New City

Published Journal Articles

Elephant Journal: Using My Childhood Superpower to help Families Facing Cancer.

Elephant Journal: Why We (Don’t) Meditate.

Labyrinth Pathways 10th Edition – The Labyrinth as a Healer’s Meditation Practice

To see Kathleen’s C.V. please click or tap here.


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