What is it? What it is NOT and other things you should know
Post-Surgical Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Post-surgical Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a gentle yet powerful form of bodywork that is intended to stimulate and encourage the natural movement of lymph which carries fluid (water) and waste products away from the tissues. It is a technique based on gentle, rhythmic and constant movements that encourage the rhythm of the body’s lymphatic system. During a post-surgical manual lymphatic drainage session, the therapist gently guides post surgical edema towards those correlating lymph nodes.
Post-surgical Manual Lymphatic Drainage is NOT opening up incision wounds to push edema out of the body.
Why should you receive Manual Lymphatic Drainage after your cosmetic surgery? After surgery, the body will generally swell both at and proximal to the surgical site. This post-operative swelling, while completely normal, can be uncomfortable. Sluggishness, decreased range of motion, increased sensitivity, inability to sleep comfortably, and an overall feeling of puffiness can often occur during the surgical recovery process.
Reducing post-surgical swelling is one of the most common ways that Manual Lymphatic Drainage is used. Because of its ability to directly move excessive post-surgical edema while using the most gentle of touch, Manual Lymphatic Drainage is frequently regarded as an imperative part of the surgical recovery process by surgeons worldwide. Below is a study done by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) showing the benefits of post liposuction MLD.
Postoperative Manual Lymphatic Drainage can help clients recovering from a wide range of surgeries including:
Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL)
Breast Implant / Augmentation
Mastectomy / Breast Reconstruction / Top Surgery
Do you have Tissue Fibrosis or lumps and bumps after surgery? Fibrosis is a build up of scar tissue that can occur as a result of cosmetic surgery which can cause lumps and bumps in the subdermal tissues. It can sometimes be found in the lateral torso, lower abdomen, and back after liposuction. This consequence of liposuction is not ideal, It can sometimes be treated with other massage manipulations like targeted scar work, which can be incorporated into an MLD treatment.
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MLD for Post Surgical Recovery
Within the past decades a whole new form of post-surgical healing has emerged – Post Surgical Manual Lymphatic Drainage. Therapists with specialized training to perform MLD for Lymphedema and other medical complications may or may not work in the Post Surgical realm. However the demand is increasing. Evidence of it's growing popularity is in the number of post op clients who call saying their surgeon "prescribed" MLD as part of their followup protocol.
The Lymphatic System The Lymphatic System is a complex pathway of specialized capillaries, trunks, and nodes which assist in returning fluids back into the circulatory system. As a passive system, it has no central pump, like the heart, to move fluids. That task is left to the vein like structures to "pump" fluids,
The post-surgical case for MLD Inflammation. (and fibrosis). It all really comes down to inflammation. Surgery is trauma. And trauma triggers a trauma response. Part of that response is swelling. Swelling is a normal part of healing, but it can be uncomfortable and chronic swelling can lead to other issues. Manual Lymphatic Drainage helps the lymphatic drainage system function at a peak level to draw fluids away from a swollen area. Stimulation of the lymphatic system increases the rate at which the body removes waste, dead cell particles, and inflammatory agents from our tissue.s Accelerating the lymphatic flow has been demonstrated to reduce swelling and bruising in the injured region. Studies indicate that as the volume of fluid at the injury site is reduced, rehabilitation time may be shortened. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) can play an important role in post-surgery recovery to reduce inflammation but also by playing a role in the reduction of pain, stiffness and bruising,
You may receive Post-Surgical MLD treatments within 3 days after surgery. Doctors who recommenced Post Surgical MLD will sometimes suggest treatment as soon as 3-days after surgery. This early intervention assists with helping to minimize bruising and swelling. However, some doctors suggest or even mandate patients wait from 2-6 weeks after surgery before receiving treatment. With a Doctor's consent, we will work on clients generally beginning 3 days to a week after surgery. No work will be done on or near an incision this early - only after it has healed. Generally after 2-3 weeks all work is safe unless there are complications with your surgery.
If you have issues with your surgical site, seek wound care or medical assistance, not MLD One current trend we are seeing is that patients are opting to have cosmetic procedures performed remotely. Often the client returns home from a clinic with a paper of instructions for followup when they return home. MLD is usually at the top of these lists However, MLD itself can only do so much and is not wound care nor does it involve anything to do with an incision. If you are experiencing any issues such as abnormal oozing, sharp pain. redness that is abnormal or other signs of infection, please seek competent local medical care or see your doctor.
Pushing fluids and tissues out from unhealed incisions is NOT MLD There is an understanding in various places in the United States and abroad that the way to get lymphatic fluid out of your body is to reopen the incisions and push fluid out manually. First, this process is outside the scope of practice for any MLD Therapist or any Massage Therapist. Unless the person performing this process is a nurse or similarly licensed healthcare worker, they should not be doing this.
Online videos are not an alternative to hands-on MLD -But I can show you Self Care MLD strokes you can do at home When time and budget allow, MLD is best performed by a trained therapist, however not everyone has the time or budget for a series of visits. One challenge with online videos is varying degrees of quality and accuracy. It is easy to follow along, but if you don't know the "why" behind what you are doing, or know if you are doing it right, you may be doing things contrary or ineffective to the healing process. If you want to do MLD self care at home, book a treatment with some extra time and go home with a self care routine that you know will be effective.
MLD does NOT use brushes, tools, cupping, bamboo sticks, rollers, or creams. MLD uses only the hands and is performed without oils, lotions or creams. It involves movement of the skin in particular directions, and gentle pressure toward the body. Dry brushing is light and can have an MLD like effect but its primarily used for exfoliation. There are instances where cups and tools can be used during the healing process, but it is not for lymphatic drainage. Because the work requires some minimal friction, creams or oils are not used.
You Deserve a Better Healing In all cases, a post-surgical lymphatic drainage session should be gentle and complete, Post surgical MLD is an excellent way to help promote the healing process and is appropriate for almost any surgery or procedure.
I treat clients who have had procedures such as lipo-360, mommy makeover, breast reduction or augmentation, Brazilian butt lifts, abdominoplasty (tummy tucks), cool sculpting, brachioplasty, facelifts, hip replacements, shoulder surgeries, lumpectomies, mastectomies and reconstruction, gender affirmation surgeries. . If your situation involves Lymphedema, active cancer or is in general more complex, my colleague Virginia Murphy is available to handle almost all special care cases from her nearby Hanover studio, She has hundreds of hours of training in oncology massage, lymphatic systems and manual lymphatic drainage. We would like to be your healing partners.
I hope this information is useful. If you have any questions or would like to book a treatment or consultation please contact me. I am always happy to help.