Swelling after surgery is due to the trauma inflicted on the tissues during a procedure. This is mainly due to the surgeon cutting though lymphatic and blood vessels causing fluid to spill out into the tissues.
The inflammatory response to tissue trauma and the resultant and accompanying fluid is however, beneficial in the wound healing process. But, there can also be adverse effects to soft tissue and joints if swelling persists, compromising the healing processes. Persistent swelling can delay wound healing due to certain elements present inhibiting growth factors. And it can delay ‘wash-out’ of chemical mediators, stimulating pain receptors therefore increasing pain. Decreased movement in a joint due to pain will then reduce range of motion. By incorporating Manual Lymphatic Drainage into the acute postoperative period, in some instances as soon as 24hrs after a procedure, you are gently encouraging alternative lymphatics to take up the excess fluid and remove it from the tissues. This ultimately improves the wound healing process, optimises the scarring process and means patients can get back to normality more quickly.
Manual lymphatic drainage is a specialised form of massage treatment for Postoperative Swelling.