Surgeons, why you should refer your patients for aftercare plans. 

There are now many surgeons referring their surgical patients to specialist therapists for bespoke aftercare plans and treatment.

However, there are still many who aren't convinced as to the efficacy of therapies like Manual Lymph Drainage.

I've worked with postop patients since 2006 so have seen first hand how beneficial it can be in reducing swelling more quickly and generally speeding up the healing process. Despite this anecdotal evidence, testimonials from patients and indeed, testimonials from surgeons I've worked with, I thought I needed something more 'scientific' to prove that it does indeed work.

It has however, proven difficult to find any studies specifically in reducing swelling after plastic surgery. And a lot of articles are focused on chronic swelling - lymphoedema.

But, I have found the following 2 articles:

Manual lymph drainage efficiently reduces postoperative facial swelling and discomfort after removal of impacted third molars.

Randomised trial investigating the efficacy of Manual Lymphatic Drainage to improve early outcome after total knee arthroplasty

I hope you find these articles interesting and helpful. If you have any questions, please get in touch.


Sometimes it can be difficult to physically see the benefits of MLD

However, in this before and after picture below, it's clear to see the benefits:

  • Reduced swelling
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Increased movement

This was after only one session of MLD (I'm holding the lady's arm for support)

What Surgeons Say

I first noticed Petra when she started a discussion on the benefits of MLD used pre and postoperatively in a plastic surgery forum in 2011. I liked her passion, enthusiasm and belief that MLD would improve surgical recovery by reducing swelling more quickly. Having commented on her post, she subsequently contacted me to see if I would consider integrating MLD into my clinic’s postoperative care package. I was soon convinced that this therapy would add an extra level of care for my patients, and if as promised by Petra, it would speed up and improve patient recovery, then this was something I wanted to offer my patients.

Petra joined LBPS in January 2012 and put together policies and protocols for each procedure: how many treatment sessions to have pre and postop, how soon after surgery treatment could commence, the length of each session and how frequently treatments were to be. Most patients were seen within the first week and those with Vaser liposuction had their first treatment session within 48hrs. Our patients loved this extra level of care and noticed improvement in their swelling after each treatment. In addition, we found that because Petra was seeing patients regularly, she could flag up any issues to our nurses before they became problematic.

I would highly recommend Petra to anyone considering referring their patients to her. She has considerable experience and knowledge in postop recovery. She has a kind yet professional manner with her patients and instils confidence in them, encouraging and enabling them to relax so they get the most out of this great therapy.

Chris Inglefield, BSc, MBBS, FRCS(Plast) 

Medical Director, London Bridge Plastic Surgery

I have referred many of my postoperative patients to Petra and have had great feedback on her professionalism and approach, and have seen really good outcomes in improving recovery. I'd thoroughly recommend Petra to anyone looking for postoperative manual lymphatic drainage.

Fulvio Urso-Baiardo, BM BCh, MA Hons, FRCS (Plast), MD (Res)

Eterno 360 Clinic

Frequently Asked Questions

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