Consultant – Orthopaedic Surgeon
Speciality interests include:
Lower extremity: trauma, sports surgery, knee, patella dislocation, tendon problems, foot and ankle surgery, and the management of degenerative joint disease in younger patients.
Visiting on Sep 21-22, 2019Request an Appointment
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a specialized hands-on therapy based on the anatomy of the lymph system and is an integral part of lymphedema (swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system) treatment. You can treat swelling (edema) with MLD alone, but it is often combined with other supplemental methods, such as complex decongestive therapy, which is considered as the most effective non-surgical therapeutic method for lymphedema.
How does MLD work?
Manual lymphatic drainage is a specialized technique, which is designed to reduce the lymph swelling by enhancing the lymphatic drainage. If we can improve the drainage, it allows the fluid to be redirected away from the areas where the swelling is present, towards the functioning lymph nodes in unaffected areas. This is an important principle in lymphedema management.
In MLD, we apply specific hand movements on the skin surface and follow the anatomic lymphatic pathways of the body to promote drainage from the affected extremity. It involves gentle pumping action on the skin. The light, rhythmic, pumping massage movements follow the direction of lymph flow and ensure that the maximum skin stretching effect is gained with a minimum of pressure. As a result, lymphatic flow throughout the body increases, without increasing filtration, thereby reducing the lymphatic stasis and lymphedema symptoms.
What can I expect from a session of MLD?
A session of manual lymph drainage starts centrally in the neck and trunk. The goal is to clear out the main lymphatic pathways and thereby facilitating drainage from the affected limb. MLD is carried out in a descending manner to facilitate the flow of the lymph from the affected areas to those not affected. Its application demands a long period of time (from 45 to 60 min.) and it is usually performed once a day (four or five times a week) for 2 to 4 weeks. The greatest reduction of the edema is obtained in the first week of treatment.
What is the effect of MLD?
MLD shows a number of physiological effects: it will stimulate the lymph flow, increase the contraction of the lymph vessels, direct the fluid into the working lymph nodes and thereby facilitate a reduce in swelling. The ability of MLD to reduce lymphatic swelling has been well demonstrated.