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MLD should not be confused with a massage. It is an advanced and highly skilled therapy which takes years or studying & exams before becoming fully qualified.
Dr Vodder requires that each therapist is reviewed every 2 years to maintain a high standard & level of competence.
Although MLD treatments are sometimes offered places such as salons and health spas it is recommended that you choose a registered healthcare professional who is registered with MLDUK. You need to choose someone who has knowledge and experience in working with surgical patients to help provide quality postsurgical care.
Lymphatic massage is not Mld.
Mld is a gentle skin technique and not a massage. The purpose of an Mld is designed to have an effect on the fluid components and lymphatic structure’s located in the superficial tissues. This then impacts on the deeper lymphatic system
Lymphoedema cannot be cured but, with appropriate treatment, its major symptoms, namely swelling and the risk of infection (cellulitis) can be improved and controlled. Skin and underlying tissues will also improve, function/mobility of the limb should increase and the psychological effects will be minimised
Diuretics or water tablets are generally not recommended for lymphoedema. However, they may be used when swelling is severe/complicated or in circumstances where there may be more than one cause for the swelling (e.g. heart/renal problems)
Exercise usually has a very positive impact on lymphoedema and is encouraged because muscle activity helps to promote lymphatic drainage. However, it is important that you build up any activities slowly and sensibly. Always wear your compression garments when you are exercising to support your limb (you do not have to wear your garment when swimming as the water provides resistance against the skin/tissues).
Take notice of how your limb responds to the exercise – if it swells, aches, feels hotter or takes longer to recover than the other limbs afterwards, then the programme may need to be adapted or reduced. Your lymphoedema practitioner will offer set exercises and general advice about recreational exercise
Unfortunately, many people are still told that nothing can be done to help lymphoedema. Most doctors are sceptical and negative about any treatment for lymphoedema and are often unaware of where to refer their patients for advice. In the first instance try to gather as much information as possible about the condition (e.g. obtain the LSN fact/information sheets and where your local clinic is situated) and then, politely, share them with your GP.
The LSN has also commissioned two e-learning modules specifically designed to help your GP recognise and appropriately treat lymphoedema. Ask the LSN for the relevant information to pass on to your GP
Most often GP’s will jump to the conclusion that their patients are referring to lymphedema, and it may be possible that if you have had lipoedema for a number of years you also have lymphoedema. Lymphoedema results from malfunction of the lymphatic system, whereas lipoedema is thought to primarily be a disorder of adipose tissue (a lipodystrophy).
Patients with lipoedema may develop lymphatic dysfunction. This combination of lipoedema and secondary lymphoedema is sometimes referred to as lipo-lymphoedema
Bruising reduction. Cells transported by the lymph system are moved away 10 times faster with MLD bruises heal in a fraction of the time, allowing clients the ability to resume activities of daily living, without having to wear sunglasses for months to hide bruises
Edema reduction. MLD rereroutes lymph fluid to collateral and viable pathways untouched by surgery to allow for accelerated drainage, as opposed to the slow trickle of tissue fluids in the operative site
Pain management. As pressure of lymph fluid decreases around nerves, pain and discomfort are relieved and require less pain medication
Scar-tissue prevention and fibrosis reduction. Lymph fluid left to build up below incisions or sitting in interstitial space can solidify, causing the formation of scar tissue and fibrotic tissue. These tissues are often felt as ball-like substances below the skin surface. MLD prevents lymph fluid build up and solidification, for a seamless scar.
Infection prevention. Postsurgical MLD is important when considering that stagnating lymph fluid can become infectious material and warrant artificial drain insertion—which is painful, costly and time consuming.