Recovering from surgery can be a challenging process, with many individuals seeking ways to facilitate their healing journey. One such method, gaining increasing attention for its postoperative benefits, is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). In this blog, we’ll explore why MLD is considered an essential part of post-surgical care, especially for women undergoing various types of surgeries.


What is MLD?

MLD is a specialised massage technique, utilising precise, light, rhythmical hand movements which gently stretch the skin in circular motions along the lymphatic pathways. This pumping movement stimulates flow in the lymph vessels and encourages the uptake of fluid from the tissues into the lymphatic system. The fluid drains through the lymph nodes where it is filtered and cleansed of dead cells, bacteria and other waste products before being returned to the blood stream.  MLD is very different to traditional massage, MLD is very light touch in comparison.



What Types of Surgery Can MLD Help With?

MLD is particularly beneficial following surgery.   The types of surgeries where MLD can be very helpful include cosmetic procedures like liposuction and tummy tucks, breast surgeries (augmentations, reductions, reconstructions), and surgeries that involve lymph node removal. MLD helps in managing lymphedema (swelling) and improving overall recovery outcomes.



How Long Do I Need to Wait After Surgery?

The ideal time to start MLD varies depending on the type of surgery and the individual’s healing process. Generally, it’s recommended to begin MLD 24 to 48 hours post-surgery for cosmetic procedures, with a doctor’s approval. For more invasive surgeries, it’s best to wait until your surgeon gives the green light, typically a week or more post-operation.


Advantages of Having MLD

MLD boasts several benefits to your recovery from surgery:


Disadvantages of Having MLD

MLD is a blessing, but it’s important to be aware of some downsides:


Contra-Indications for MLD

MLD is not suitable for everyone. It’s contraindicated in cases of congestive heart failure, acute infections, thrombosis, and certain types of cancer. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting MLD.


How Many Sessions Will I Need?

The number of sessions depends on the surgery type and individual healing. Typically, 5-10 sessions are recommended for cosmetic surgeries, with more required for extensive procedures. Your therapist will tailor the plan based on your specific needs.



Choosing an MLD Therapist

When selecting an MLD therapist, consider the following:



Embracing Manual Lymphatic Drainage as part of your post-surgical care can be a game-changer. It’s not just about physical recovery; it’s about nurturing yourself, body and soul, during a time when you need it the most. Here’s to your health, healing, and happiness on this journey!


A bit about me & my background

Claire is a  Women’s Health Specialist at Restoring Balance; a Sports Scientist and a Women’s Health Coach who is also a multi-disciplined therapist specialising in person-centred care.  

Claire’s work is very different to many therapists – working with you as a whole person using a unique combination of mind, nutrition and movement to overcome both physical and emotional blocks; not just where you feel pain or have dysfunction, allowing you to live life again.  Claire can help you with:

I work both online and in person from my home-based clinic on Hayling Island, Hampshire.

Ready to make a change? Book in for a Let’s Talk.



Manual Lymphatic Drainage in Post-surgical Care,” Journal of Lymphoedema.

Role of Manual Lymphatic Drainage in the Treatment of Lymphedema,” National Lymphedema Network.

Postoperative Care and MLD,” International Society of Lymphology.

Understanding Manual Lymphatic Drainage,” American Massage Therapy Association.

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