Treating Lymphedema


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Treating Lymphedema

  1. 1. Treating lymphedema
  2. 2. The recommended treatment for lymphedema is a treatment plan called complex decongestive therapy (CDT). It is also known as decongestive lymphatic therapy (DLT). CDT is not a cure for lymphedema, but it can help control the symptoms of swelling and pain. Although CDT takes time and effort, it can be used to effectively control your lymphedema.
  3. 3. Complex decongestive therapy (CDT)  Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a specialised massage technique designed to stimulate the flow of fluid and reduce swelling.  Multilayer lymphedema bandaging (MLLB) uses bandages and compression garments to move fluid out of the affected limb.
  4. 4.  Remedial exercises designed to activate muscles in the limb to improve lymph drainage.  Skin care is required to prevent infection.
  5. 5. Each of these treatments is described in more detail below. CDT begins with an intensive phase of therapy, during which you may receive daily treatment for up to six weeks. This is followed by the second phase, known as the maintenance phase. During the maintenance phase, you will be encouraged to take over your own care using simple lymph drainage techniques (MLD administered by either yourself or a carer) and exercise while wearing compression garments.
  6. 6. Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) During manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), your lymphedema therapist will use special massage techniques to move fluid from the swollen areas into working lymph nodes where it can be drained. It is important you receive MLD from a trained lymphedema therapist and not a regular masseur. This is because the technique requires a detailed knowledge of the lymphatic system to be performed correctly.
  7. 7. Your lymphedema therapist will also teach you a range of massage techniques you can use during the maintenance phase. MLD may not be suitable if you have certain health conditions. For example:
  8. 8. •current or suspected deep vein thrombosis (DVT) •a blood clot in one of the deep veins in the body •swelling in your legs due to heart failure •cancer in the affected area
  9. 9. Multilayer lymphedema bandaging (MLLB) Unlike the blood circulation system, there is no central pump, such as the heart, to move fluid around the lymphatic system. Instead, the lymphatic system uses the massaging effect of the muscles surrounding the lymph vessels and nodes to move the fluid. The aim of multilayer lymphedema bandaging (MLLB) is to support the muscles during exercise and encourage them to move fluid out of the affected limb. MLLB is often used after a session of MLD to prevent fluid accumulating in the limb again.
  10. 10. You will be taught how to correctly apply your own bandages and compression garments so you can continue to use MLLB during the maintenance period.
  11. 11. Resources: ages/Treatment.aspx