Postoperative Orthognathic Surgery Edema Assessment With and Without Manual Lymphatic Drainage

J Craniofac Surg. 2017 Oct;28(7):1816-1820. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000003850.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) on facial edema and pain in patients who underwent orthognathic surgery from patient and professional perspectives and clinical measures.

Methods: It is a randomized double-blind clinical trial, where 30 patients who underwent bimaxillary orthognathic surgery were divided into 2 groups (treatment and placebo). One group (treatment) received MLD from 2nd postoperative day, besides cryotherapy and postoperative medications. The other group (placebo) received cryotherapy, medications, and manual superficial sliding movements as placebo. For edema evaluation, facial measurements with tape and photographs were used. To evaluate patients' perception, visual analog scale for pain and edema was used. In statistical analysis, quantitative data were analyzed using Student t test for normally distributed variables and Mann-Whitney test for non-normal to find differences between groups; 5% significance level was adopted.

Results: No difference was found between groups in the amount of maximum developed edema (P = 0.290) nor on what day the edema peak occurred (P = 0.091). However, it was found that treatment group showed faster and greater regression of swelling compared with placebo (P < 0.001). Manual lymphatic drainage was not effective in relieving pain in these patients and nor in edema perception (P = 0.784 and P = 0.946, respectively).

Conclusion: Manual lymphatic drainage was effective in reducing facial measurements in orthognathic surgery postoperatory. When considering patient's pain and swelling perception, no difference was found between groups.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Edema / diagnosis
  • Edema / therapy*
  • Face
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage*
  • Orthognathic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / diagnosis
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult