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Post Surgical MLD

The benefits of having MLD following surgery can include:

- A reduction in post-surgical oedema (tissue swelling)

- Pain relief thanks to MLD's analgesic effect

- Speeding up the absorption of residual anaesthetics in the body

- Minimised bruising levels

Reduction in the development of seroma & fibrotic tissue

- Immune system stimulation to help ward off post-surgical infection

- Wound healing improvement through increased circulation to help minimise scarring

- Skin & lymphatic vessel regeneration stimulation

- Recovery from the "post-surgical slump" caused by increased levels of adrenaline & other stress-response hormones in the body.


abdominal manual lymphatic drainage
manual lymphatic drainage after surgery
hip replacement manual lymphatic drainage

Why is MLD recommended after surgery such as liposuction, joint replacement, tummy tucks, c-sections and face lifts?

Surgery causes physical trauma by cutting through or disrupting (eg with a liposuction cannula) various layers of tissue, damaging delicate lymphatic vessels which normally drain waste fluid and cellular debris from that area. As a result, with the body's increased inflammatory response to surgery bringing increased blood circulation to the area to help it heal, excess waste fluid builds up causing an oedema (tissue swelling).


MLD is a completely pain free, light-touch treatment, so it can be applied around very tender areas such as incision lines without causing discomfort. It gently guides the excess fluid (called lymph) from the surgical site, away to the nearest available lymph nodes where it is filtered and channelled towards deeper lymphatic structures, helping to reduce tissue swelling (and coincidentally bruising), until lymphatic vessels have begun to regenerate or until neighbouring lymph vessels have effectively compensated for the damage by taking on a greater drainage load.


Why is it so important to reduce swelling? Swelling at a surgical site can cause issues with the speed of healing because it can pull the wound open presenting an infection risk, or pop stitches at skin or subcutaneous levels jeopardising the integrity of healing tissues and creating an untidy scar line. Swelling also increases the risk of seroma developing. Seroma are essentially pockets/holes left where tissue has been removed by surgery (eg liposuction), which can fill with lymph, leading to a lumpy, uneven appearance. MLD helps drain seroma of their fluid and decreases the chances of that trapped fluid hardening over time and becoming fibrotic.

How soon after surgery can I have MLD?

With the consent of your medical professionals and in the case of no post-surgical complications, MLD can be performed as soon as 24 hours after surgery. Basically, the sooner you start MLD, the better its effects are likely to be. Many people choose to start MLD on Day 2 or 3 after an operation as this is when they might typically feel more stable as the immediate effects of their surgical medications have abated somewhat.

How many post-surgical MLD treatments will I need?


It depends on the type of surgery you have had and how much of your body is involved.

It is helpful to consider MLD treatment according to its main purpose at various points around a patient's surgery:


1)  Pre-operative MLD (ideally 1-3 sessions in most cases)

Preparing your body for surgery by having 1-3 MLD sessions in the week prior to your operation is highly recommended to detoxify ahead of the heavy use of anaesthetics, antibiotics, painkillers etc. MLD will improve circulation in the area undergoing surgery, boost immune response and get you used to being in a state of increased lymphatic flow, as well as helping to relax your nervous system ahead of the big day..

2) Post-operative MLD 'Intense Phase' (as prescribed by the surgeon, the average being 10 sessions)

The primary goal of an intense phase of MLD is to reduce inevitable swelling in damaged tissue and to keep it down to a minimum in the weeks immediately after surgery. This in turn helps minimise the risk of developing complications such as seroma and fibrosis, or if seroma does develop, MLD helps to drain that fluid off naturally rather than having to resort to a surgical solution. 


Most surgeons will now prescribe an MLD treatment schedule for their patients on discharge from hospital, eg for extensive liposuction this might be: daily in the first few days, every other day in the second & third week, weekly for a further 2 weeks and then once a month for maintenance up to 5 months, or eg after a hip or knee replacement, this might be 3 times a week for 3 weeks.


Where an MLD schedule has not been medically prescribed, the therapist will suggest what she believes will be optimal for your situation based on her experience with similar cases. Feel free to get in touch to ask about this prior to booking an appointment, as it is a good idea to understand how many visits you're likely to need, and to get them scheduled in, before your first visit.

3) 'Maintenance MLD' (typically 5 sessions)


Once the intense post-surgical phase of MLD has ended, the risk of swelling, seroma and fibrosis have decreased and MLD's focus shifts from controlling oedema to stimulating lymphatic vessel regeneration and regrowth. Regrowth happens between the second and fifth months after surgery, it is a specific window of regeneration during which the severed lymph vessels grow back through the damaged areas. Maintenance MLD stimulates and loads the newly growing lymph vessels and increases the likelihood that cross-scar connections can be re-established. MLD treatment about once a fortnight until the end of month 2, and then once a month in months 3-5 have been shown to make a difference to the extent of lymphatic vessel regrowth.

How does the Consultation/Booking process work?

If you wish to book MLD for post-surgical care, please contact the therapist (Nina) as soon as possible ahead of your surgery, in order to outline your requirements, check her availability for your intended period of convalescence and to ask any questions you might have.


If you think you may need treatment at home before being mobile enough to visit the clinic, you will need a separate quote for any off site appointments in advance - these are only possible with sufficient notice, schedule availability and for addresses within reasonably close proximity to the practice. How home visits are costed are detailed towards the bottom of the FAQs page of this website.

When planning a number of Intense Phase MLD appointments in close succession, it is best to book these as far in advance as possible because the therapist operates more or less to capacity and availability cannot be guaranteed to suit your schedule at short notice after your 1st appointment.

After booking, you will be sent a Post-Surgical Health Form to complete online, which will supplement what you may have already told the therapist about your surgery. Please do this as soon and in as much detail as possible, it enables the therapist to begin planning your treatment schedule with sufficient time to contact you for further clarification if necessary.

Prices (for treatments at the practice)

MLD 1st appointments: £90 (70mins) 

A 70 min appointment is required for all 1st MLD appointments at Richmond Park Therapies. This includes a consultation to discuss your treatment aims & aftercare advice, plus 60 mins treatment.

MLD subsequent appointments: £80 (60mins) OR £90 (70mins)

Most subsequent & maintenance MLD appointments last 60 mins. If you are using MLD for deep-relaxation, have a complex medical case, or have had cosmetic surgery/liposuction to several body areas at the same time however, you will require 70 mins for follow-up appointments. In each of these cases, please call/email before booking to check, also see more info on Post-Surgical MLD.

MLD Packages:

a) 10 appointments (1st 70 mins + 9 subsequent 60 mins): £760

Saving 6.2%, ie £50 off the pay-as-you-go rate

b) 10 appointments (10 x 70 mins): £844

Saving 6.2%, ie £56 off the pay-as-you-go rate

Packages are not available via the booking system & must be booked in person by phone before the first appointment is scheduled. 

Terms for MLD packages & multiple appointments:

When booking more than one MLD appointment, you will need to transfer a holding fee at the time of booking them, this includes Packages if you do not intend to pay in full amount immediately. The holding fee will be used to pay for your final appointment (unless there have been deductions for no-shows, late cancellations etc) or will be deducted from the package price when you complete full payment.

For MLD Packages you will need to have paid the full cost of the entire package by bank transfer at least 48 hours before your 1st appointment. 

Packages cannot be taken out retrospectively and must be requested and confirmed by email prior to your first appointment. Full Ts & Cs including details for package cancellation will be provided at the time of enquiry.

Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT2         9am-6pm: 07791 966278
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