Questions that a Manual Lymphatic Drainage Practitioner Should Ask a Surgeon Prior to Practicing MLD

Questions that a Manual Lymphatic Drainage Practitioner Should Ask a Surgeon Prior to Practicing MLD

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:

  1. Would an increase of circulation be harmful to this client?
  2. When can I start MLD appointments for this client?
  3. Does the client have any surgical drains, implants, injectables or joint replacements?
  4. Does the client have any areas I should not touch? If yes, where?
  5. 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).
  6. 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?
  7. 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).
  8. How long of an appointment and how frequently can MLD be provided?
  9. Are there any special directions that should be followed or considerations to be made?
  10. 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:

     #orthopedics #orthopedicsurgery #MLD #manuallymphaticdrainage #lymphaticdrainage #bodywork #bodyworker #massage #massagetherapist #mt #LMT #lymphedema #postsurgical #cosmeticsurgery #plasticsurgery #swelling #edema #chronicswelling #incisiondrainage #pressotherapy

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    • Tonya Brooks - July 31, 2023

      Thanks for your blog. I am a CMLDT and license massage therapist. I am interested in advanced MLD coursework and was wondering if you have any online courses or in person classes.

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