Thursday, November 17, 2016

Will having Manual Lymphatic Drainage after orthopedic surgery help swelling?

Manual Lymphatic Drainage after orthopedic injury and surgery in San Diego

MLD after Surgery in San Diego

by Kathleen Lisson, CMT, LMT

"Does MLD improve patient-oriented and disease-oriented outcomes for patients with orthopedic injuries?" This is the question posed by the study 'The Effectiveness of Manual Lymphatic Drainage in Patients with Orthopedic Injuries' authored by Tricia Majewski-Schrage and Kelli Snyder and published in the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation in 2016. The authors conducted a literature search for level 2 evidence or higher on the topic of MLD techniques effectively decreasing edema (swelling) and pain, increasing range of motion (ROM) and improving a patient's return to activities of daily living after orthopedic surgery.



Research has found that Manual Lymphatic Drainage after orthopedic surgery can:

  • Decrease edema (swelling)
  • Decrease pain
  • Decrease limb volume
  • Increase range of motion (ROM) 
  • Improve a patient's return to activities of daily living 


Though every well-educated massage therapist receives a few hours of training in MLD, advanced training is preferred. Ask you massage therapist if they have a certification in Manual Lymphatic Drainage, or ideally, a full certification as a CLT, or Certified Lymphedema Therapist.

Here is a link to print out the study and show your physician. Read the entire study here: http://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/pdf/10.1123/jsr.2014-0222

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