What to be expected when seeking treatment from our facility
Since there is no cure for lymphedema, the goal of the therapy is to reduce the swelling and to maintain the reduction. For the majority of the patients this can be achieved by the skillful application of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT). Each CDT treatment consists of four steps:
1. Meticulous skin and nail care, including the eradication of any infection.
2. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD): a manual treatment technique that stimulates lymph vessels to contract more frequently and that channels lymph and edema fluid toward adjacent, functioning lymph systems.
3. Compression Bandaging is done immediately after MLD. Bandages are applied from the distal to the proximal aspect of the extremity with maximal pressure distal and minimal pressure proximally. This is accomplished by using several layers of materials to ensure uniform pressure distribution, or to increase pressure in are that are particularly fibrotic. The bandages do not constrict blood flow but increase diminished skin and interstitial pressures. This prevents any re-accumulation of excavated edema fluid and also prevents the ultrafiltration additional fluid into the interstitial space.
4. The bandaged patient is next guided through a series of decongestive exercises with the muscles and joints functioning within closed space. The exercises increase lymph flow in all available lymph channels and in collateral pathways that are used to make the passage to venous angle
5. Compression garment recommendation and fitting: Once fluid reduction is achieved. Compression garments must be worn to maintain the reduction. There are many types of compression garments available. Your lymphedema therapist will provide garment reduction, based on the amount of fluid reduction achieved during treatment.
6. The patient will also be instructed in a home maintenance program so that she can continue treatment on her own at home.