Anyone who has been through orthopedic surgery, such as a knee replacement, can tell you just how much swelling is involved! While it is normal and even necessary for edema to form as part of the inflammatory process following a tissue trauma such as orthopedic surgery, problems can occur if the fluid buildup persists. Prolonged edema following surgery can add length to rehabilitation times, increase pain, slow healing of scars and cause adhesions; there is even a higher risk of infection with long standing edema. The lymphatic system’s role in fluid movement and the healing processes makes manual lymphatic drainage an ideal therapy for the post orthopedic patient. By increasing and supporting the function of the lymphatic system when it is overwhelmed by inflammation we can greatly improve the rate of repair to the tissue, support wound closure, decrease pain and increase functionality. Manual lymphatic drainage has proven great success in treating post operative swelling and should be considered as an addition to the rehabilitation process of anyone undergoing orthopedic surgery.
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