Edema is a condition in which there is a pathological accumulation of fluid in the tissue spaces. This causes swelling and changes to the skin and tissues. Edema occurs as a result of damage or trauma to the body.
Most people have had small edemas – such as when you sprain your ankle and it swells up – and these are usually self-correcting.
However, with severe trauma – such as that resulting from injuries incurred during an accident or post-operatively – the swelling may be slow to go down, or may not reduce naturally. Lymphatic therapy can help to reduce edema, thus lessening the harmful impact on the body and improving healing. Benefits of using MLD include:
- it can be used at an early post-operative stage (usually 2-3 days post-surgery)
- the healing process is accelerated (those who don’t have MLD usually have a longer recovery time)
- scarring and build-up of nodules/fibrosis are significantly reduced
- fat residues (in the case of liposuction) are quickly absorbed and processed by the lymphatic system
- local inflammation is inhibited
- pain is decreased
- MLD affects the sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight branch), which reduces stress and tension, thus expediting the healing process.
Note: Edema that does not reduce, due to permanent damage to the lymphatic system is known as secondary lymphoedema and this condition can be managed with Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT).