What is lymphedema therapy?
Lymphedema is a condition resulting in swelling of one or more limbs and/or trunk due to the accumulation of fluid in the interstitial tissues. It can be the result of surgery, trauma, disease, radiation therapy, venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis, obesity, or the congenital malformation of the lymph system.
Lymphedema is treated through complete decongestive therapy (CDT). Key components of CDT include:
- Manual lymph drainage (a specialized massage to encourage flow of lymph fluid)
- Compression bandaging or garments to move fluid towards the healthy lymph system
- Exercise to encourage lymph flow in and out of the limbs
- Skin care to prevent infections and to hydrate the skin
- Education and self-care techniques to prevent further compromise of the limb
Results from CDT include:
- Maintained reduction of fluid
- Wound healing and reduced infection risk
- Improved skin health
- Improved limb and overall function
- Improved quality of life and the ability to move, walk, and perform daily tasks
- Improved fit of clothing and shoes