Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD)is a form of gentle massage which uses specialised techniques to stimulate and enhance lymphatic drainage of the treated areas. Good lymphatic drainage have been attributed with various functions such as the removal of toxins and prevention of excessive fluids accummulating in the tissues.
MLD is an important tool in the management of lymphoedema. At our practice, MLD forms an important part in the aftercare for patients following facial surgery. Our therapists use a pneumatic device which combines suction and pumping to carry out MLD as it provides more control and precision.
In addition to its application in surgical aftercare and spa facial treatments, we have recently incorporated MLD into our management of eyelid festoons.
Lower eyelid festoons are soft swelling in the upper mid-face which is often mistaken for “eye bags”. Unlike eye bags, festoon are “squishy” and fluctuates in size and appearance through the cause of the day, typically being more prominent after the person has laid down for a time. Festoons are believed to be caused by progressive damage to the elastic fibres of the skin e.g. from sun damage. Underlying muscle forces pulling on the weakened skin then cause gaps to form in the tissues, with resultant accumulation of fluids forming the swelling.
It is important to appreciate that lower blepharoplasty, which is the classic treatment for “eye bags”, does not correct festoons and in fact can sometimes make the swelling more obvious.
Surgical excision of festoons is not commonly carried out as it will leave a scar over both cheeks. Laser treatments have been used with some success in rejuvenating and strengthening the damaged skin.
We have used MLD to successfully reduce festoons and these are the before and after images of a patients after 2 weekly treatment sessions:
After 1st Treatment
After 2nd Treatment
It is likely that the patient will need periodic MLD sessions to maintain the results and to proceed to have laser treatment for the skin. In the meanwhile, she is very impressed with the outcome.
MLD offers an effective non-invasive management option for festoons. It can also be incorporated into a comprehensive treatment plan with laser therapy and suitable cosmeceuticals.
Mrs CC Kat is a leading Midlands Consultant Plastic Surgeon specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. She is a full member of both British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and British Association of Aesthetic , Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (BAPRAS) as well as several international aesthetic surgery associations. She worked as a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust but now runs her private practice, CC Kat Aesthetics– Birmingham Laser, Skin and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, full time. For more information, visit www.cckat.com or call 0121 456 7930