Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

What is lymphoedema
Lymphoedema is the swelling of a part of the body due to a build-up of fluid in the skin. It usually affects the legs or arms, but can affect any part of the body.

What causes lymphoedema
Lymphoedema develops when there is a problem within the lymphatic system. The lymphatics form part of the bodies immune system and is responsible for cleaning the bodies tissues and maintaining a fluid balance in the body. If the lymphatic system is not working correctly, the fluid in the tissues builds up.
Types of lymphoedema

Lymphoedema can be described as primary or secondary.

Primary lymphoedema is usually present from birth and arises due to the under-development or failure of the lymphatic system. It may develop without any obvious cause at different stages in life, however, particularly in adolescence and during menopause.

Secondary lymphoedema is the result of some problem outside of the lymphatic system that prevents it working properly. This can be due to surgery, radiotherapy, injury or infection, reduced mobility/paralysis, problems with veins and cancer.

What is MLD
MLD consists of a series of slow gentle highly specialised massage-like movements which has a stimulating effect on the flow of lymph fliud.
Inbetween treatments the patient is taught how to manage their lymphoedema and to empty their lymph nodes using special balls.
Multi Layer Bandaging
Multi Layer Bandaging (MLLB )is a multi – layer system of bandages, providing compression for the muscles to work against and therefore pump swelling to the healthy lymph nodes where it will be filtered out of the bodies system. This technique can be used effectively in both severe and mild swelling to maximise the effects of MLD.
Compression Garments
Compression can help reduce and control lymphoedema. It does this by limiting lymph fluid build up and helping the fluid move to an area that is draining well. It also provides support that helps muscles pump fluid away.
Compression garments are available in different levels or grades of pressure. The garment you have will depend on how much swelling there is, and the part of the body affected.
Depending where the swelling is, the patient can be fitted with garments for any of the following areas
Sleeves for swollen arms
Stockings for swollen legs
Garments for lymphoedema in the fingers and toes
Compression bra or vest for chest area
Garments for lymphoedema that effects the genital area.



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