Lymphedema

LCPTI is Now Offering Complete Decongestive Therapy For Lymphedema

What is lymphedema? A primary or secondary disorder characterized by the accumulation of lymph in soft tissue and swelling, caused by inflammation, obstruction or removal of lymph channels.

Staging of Lymphedema:

  • Stage 0 – no visible/palpable swelling but subjective complaints of achiness/heaviness.
  • Stage 1 – visible swelling, usually responds to elevation, subjective complaints of achiness/heaviness.
  • Stage 2 – visible, chronic swelling; elevation usually has little effect.
  • Stage 3 – visible, chronic swelling; fibrosis, skin changes and cellulitis and elevation ineffective.

What will LCPTI offer to patients?

Complete Decongestive Therapy

  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
  • Compression Bandaging
  • Exercise
  • Skin and Nail Care
  • Patient Education and Self Care Instruction

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

  • Hands-on treatment provided by certified Lymphedema therapists.
  • Helps to improve lymph capillary uptake.
  • Increases the lympho-angio-activity.
  • Does have a soothing effect.
  • Does have an analgesic effect using the “gate-control theory”.
  • Re-directs fluid around blocked areas in lymphatic system via collateral pathways.

Compression Bandaging

  • Bandaging provided by certified Lymphedema therapists.
  • Increases tissue pressure to reduce filtration and prevent further edema.
  • Prevents re-accumulation of fluid.
  • Breaks up lymphstatic fibrosis.
  • Enhances muscle and joint pump to improve venous and lymphatic return.

Exercise

  • Exercise promotes muscle, joint and vascular pumping to stimulate lymph vessels.
  • Deep abdominal breathing promotes transport of lymph.
  • Assists in the maintenance of normal tissue hydrostatic pressure.

Skin Care

  • Hygiene is of the utmost importance to decrease dermal fungus and bacteria colonization and prevent possible infection.

Education/Self Care

  • Prevent reoccurrences and infections through education.
  • Self bandaging instruction and self MLD instruction as needed to maintain initial reduction of lymphedema.

Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) Research

  • The gold standard for treatment for lymphedema is CDT1.
  • Large study of CDT reported examination of 299 patients undergoing CDT for both UE and LE lymphedema found average reduction in limb volume of 59.1% for UE lymphedema and 67.7% in LE lymphedema2.
  • With adherence to maintenance phase both UE and LE patients with lymphedema did retain 90% of initial reduction, whereas non adherent patients regained on average 33% of initial reduction2.

Non Profit Lymphedema Resources

American Cancer Society Lymphedema Research Foundation (LRF) Lymphology Association of North America (LANA)
National Lymphedema Network (NLN) Lighthouse Lymphedema Network E-lymph Nodes

Works Cited

  1. International Society of Lymphology. The diagnosis and treatment of peripheral lymphedema; Consensus document of the International Society of Lymphology. International Society of Lymphology. Available at: http://www.u.arizona.edu/~witte/ISL.htm Accessed June 26, 2012.
  2. Ko DS, Lerner R, Klose G,Cosimi AB. Effective treatment of lymphedema of extremities. Arch Surg. 1998; 133: 452-458.