Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is used to reduce swelling, which can result in pain relief, increased range of motion, physical function restoration and more. It is often performed post-surgery to help prevent secondary injury and increase healing times and outcomes. The two most common post-surgical MLD treatment requests are for cosmetic and orthopedic surgeries.
MLD practitioners must have post-surgical MLD training when working with post-surgical clients. They must also communicate with the surgeon to ascertain each MLD client's specific requirements for their post-surgical treatment and healing processes. The following are some suggested questions a MLD practitioner can ask a surgeon when providing post-surgical MLD.
Practitioners can request this information in the form of a treatment prescription if desired. It is always best to request treatment directions in writing:
- Would an increase of circulation be harmful to this client?
- When can I start MLD appointments for this client?
- Does the client have any surgical drains, implants, injectables or joint replacements?
- Does the client have any areas I should not touch? If yes, where?
- Can I work around the client’s stitches and if yes, how far of a distance should be maintained between my hand and the client‘s stitches (Practitioners can add: I will use only the weight of my hand to manipulate the skin to create drainage).
- Do you want me to wear gloves when working on the client’s skin, or are well sanitized hands acceptable? Follow-up: If I must wear gloves, when would it be acceptable to use well sanitized bare hands?
- Is there anything that could happen with the client where or when I should not administer MLD? (Practitioner can add: I do not work with active bleeding, fevers or any sign of infection).
- How long of an appointment and how frequently can MLD be provided?
- Are there any special directions that should be followed or considerations to be made?
- Practitioners should add any other questions that seem appropriate and useful.
Practicing MLD is a wonderful nonpharmacological benefit for clients seeking a reduction of swelling and pain after surgical procedures. To learn more, please register for training with us at: https://ceinstitute.com/collections/lymphatics
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