Pre & Post Mastectomy/Surgical Care
Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)
Regeneration of lymphatic vessels:
Begins after 24 hours
Maximum regeneration attained on day 14, by comparison maximum venous regeneration occurs
by day 12. Local lymphedema may occur in the wound during and after scarring, early treatment can help to minimize this.
Pre-Surgery Benefits of MLD Therapy:
One to three MLD. sessions are recommended.
Prepares tissue for surgery, alleviates existing edema, allowing surgery to be scheduled sooner, detoxifies tissue, stimulate the immune system: accelerates production of lymphocytes, induces a state of relaxation, promoting parasympathetic response.
Post-Surgery Benefits of MLD Therapy:
Performed as soon as 24 hours after surgery.
Alleviates post-surgery edema, helps stimulate temporary rerouting of lymphatics, reduces pain, alleviates spasms, detoxifies; helping reverse buildup of toxins secondary to effects of medication and immobilization, stimulates immune system and helps prevent post-surgical infections, improves skin regeneration and wound healing, and optimizes the healing process, may help to prevent the formation of hypertrophic or keloid scars.
The Importance of Manual Lymph Drainage in Reconstructive Surgery:
The proper functioning of the lymphatic system is crucial to our body's ability to drain fluids, filter out toxins, regenerate healthy tissue and maintain a sound immune system. The lymphatic system is a highly complex system composed primarily of a vast network of lymph capillaries, vessels, and nodes working together to accomplish these tasks.
Unlike the circulatory system, which uses the heart to pump and circulate blood flow, the lymph vessels rely upon hundreds of tiny muscular lymphangions contracting throughout the body to move the lymph. These tiny pumps enable the lymph vessels to transport numerous substances (toxins, hormones, fatty acids, proteins, immune cells) to the lymph nodes. This process can be impaired or stopped, however, due to fatigue, stress, infections, chemicals, lack of physical activity, age, or substantial swelling. When the lymph circulation is hindered, fluids and toxins accumulate and stagnate, and cellular function is significantly compromised. This slows the healing process, opens the way to physical disorders and may hasten the aging process.
How MDL Therapy is performed:
Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a hands-on massage technique designed to activate, stimulate, and cleanse the lymphatic system. MLD. applies subtle manual wavelike movements to aid in the recirculation of lymphatic fluid flow. The pressure applied is very light and gentle; generally around five grams. Trained MLD. therapists are able to detect the specific rhythm, depth, direction, and quality of lymph flow. With this knowledge they can use their hands to assess the lymphatic circulation and determine the best pathways for draining and stimulating lymph flow.
Links to check out:
National Cancer Institute: "Ideally, education should begin before treatment"
National Cancer Institute: Anatomy & Pathophysiology of the Lymphatic System