The lymphatic system is similar to our circulatory system—the difference being that it's an open system. It starts in the tissue, continues in the lymphatic vessels and drains into the blood. It is made up of lymph, lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes. It collects the interstitial fluid (surrounding the tissue) and carries it to the blood. Lymph is a clear fluid that runs through the veins. The lymphatic system does not have a pump/motor like the circulatory system does (the heart), so how does the lymph move? The lymphatic veins are located between the muscle fibres, bodily movement contracts them, thereby activating the system and carrying the lymph forward.

 Lymph system functions
  1. Lymph collection and transportation to the circulatory system
  2. Body's defence (immunity)
  3. Biological filter

Oedema is a build-up of fluid beneath the skin, and it can appear due to a variety of causes—one of them being after surgery. In our case, after eyelid surgery, in which tissue has been manipulated, there is always post-operative inflammation (oedema, haematoma...) usually appearing 24-28 hours after surgery. To help shorten post-operative time, our patients undergo Vodder Method Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD®). The objective of lymphatic drainage is to stimulate lymph circulation to improve the flow and remove the interstitial fluid and lymph.

Drainage involves a series of gentle, repetitive, painless and relaxing massages, the goal of which is:

  1. Oedemigenous action (emptying the built-up fluid)
  2. Calmative action (it acts on the nervous system, providing the patient with a feeling of well-being and relaxation)
  3. Analgesic action

We carry out five to six 40 minute sessions, 24-48 hours after surgery.

The above mentioned underline why it is advisable and beneficial for patients with a build-up of eyelid fluid to undergo lymphatic drainage (whether it be for surgery, fluid retention, pain, aesthetics...), since it encourages quick recovery by providing an optimum sensation of relaxation and equilibrium.

Drainage has the following specific indications and contraindications:

Post-operation, trauma, insomnia, lymphatic pathology, digestive pathology, scars...
  Existence of cancer, acute inflammation, thrombosis, decompensated heart issues, asthma flare 

Dra. Ainhoa Martínez Grau