Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author to review on The Lymphie Life. All opinions expressed here are my own honest impressions.

The newest addition to my lymphie library is Plastic Surgery Recovery Handbook, the latest book from certified lymphedema therapist Kathleen Lisson.

“Wait a minute,” you may be thinking. “What’s a book about plastic surgery have to do with lymphedema?”

Well, if you have lymphedema and are considering surgical treatment, this book may be extremely relevant to you.

Just as the title implies, Plastic Surgery Recovery Handbook is a guide to recovering from plastic surgery and minimizing postoperative side effects so you can heal quickly and healthily.

Lisson speaks not only from her years of experience as a medical professional, but also as a patient who has undergone facial reconstructive surgeries herself. The operations were successful, but aside from a prescription for pain pills and a sheet of aftercare instructions, she did not get much direction on how to reduce her post-surgical swelling and bruising.

No one told her about lymphatic massage, compression, or diaphragmatic breathing; instead, she was told the best thing to do was to wait patiently for her body to heal itself.

But as Lisson learned more about the lymphatic system through her training as a certified lymphedema therapist and feedback from her clients, she realized there are things you can do to help your recovery along.

“Swelling is a normal part of recovery from trauma, including plastic, reconstructive, oncologic, and orthopedic surgery,” writes Lisson in the book’s opening chapter. “But there are ways to reduce swelling and heal faster.”

Coming in at around 165 pages, Plastic Surgery Recovery Handbook is organized into chapters based on Lisson’s seven key components to healing from plastic surgery:

  1. Following Doctor’s Orders
  2. Reducing Swelling
  3. Reducing Bruising
  4. Improving Scars and Fibrosis
  5. Wound Healing
  6. Get Back on Your Feet
  7. Feel Healthy Inside and Out

Within the chapters themselves, Lisson explains how to follow her “recovery rules” while providing valuable information to help you along your journey, no matter what surgery you’re recovering from. Liposuction for lymphedema? She’s got you covered. Tummy tuck? Say no more. Bilateral eyelid surgery? She addresses that, too.

Lisson has a gift for taking an incredible amount of information and distilling it into easy-to-understand portions. Rather than simply recite a series of postoperative tips or a list of “do’s” and “don’ts,” she gives you the “how’s” and “why’s” behind them, providing useful context to her recommendations.

It helps, too, that her writing style is easygoing and conversational: you feel as though you’re talking with a friend — a knowledgeable, experienced friend who’s done a whole lot of research! — and the advice she’s offering feels doable.

As with Lisson’s previous books, Swollen, Bloated and Puffy and Lipedema Treatment Guide, there are prompts sprinkled throughout with space to write your own notes and thoughts about your recovery process. I really like this, as it offers a way for readers to engage with the information and relate it to themselves in a meaningful way.

There’s even a post-surgery diary at the back of the book with space to track your signs of progress for the first month or so after surgery. This struck me as an especially thoughtful detail: it’s difficult to recognize the small signs of progress as you go about your day-to-day life, but by writing it down, you’re able to get a higher-level view of your recovery journey to reflect upon later.

My recommendation

With Plastic Surgery Recovery Handbook, Lisson has created a practical and holistic guide to empower patients on their healing journey. She has a reputation for creating well-researched and well-organized resources for patients and professionals alike, and this book is no different.

If you are considering or have recently undergone surgical treatment of your lymphedema or lipedema, Plastic Surgery Recovery Handbook is a necessary addition to both your lymphie library and your recovery process.

This book is also great for surgeons, lymphedema therapists, and other medical professionals to have on hand for patients, and can help jump-start the conversation about what to expect before, during, and after surgery.

Where to purchase

If you’d like to add Plastic Surgery Recovery Handbook to your lymphie library, it’s available for purchase on Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book formats; it is also available in Spanish.

To stay updated with author Kathleen Lisson, visit her website or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


Have you read Plastic Surgery Recovery Handbook? What were your thoughts?