Complete Decongestive Therapies

Written by Diane Sievert
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Complete decongestive therapies are a must for any individual that is suffering from lymphedema. A comprehensive plan of treatment that utilizes several different practices, complete decongestive therapy is the best way to treat lymphedema. As in most medical situations, each and every lymphedema therapist will have his or her own approach to complete decongestive therapies; however, what follows is a guide to the most common types of treatment.

A Guide to Complete Decongestive Therapies

Most complete decongestive therapies are divided into two steps of treatment: the decongestive phase and the maintenance phase. The first phase addresses the swelling that has already occurred and attempts to reduce that swelling through a variety of treatments. The second phase involves managing the affected areas in such way as to avoid future problems.

When a patient is first diagnosed with lymphedema, it is generally because he or she has already experienced some fairly significant swelling. The first step in complete decongestive therapy is to reduce that swelling through manual lymph drainage and bandaging. This type of treatment is repeated until the swelling is reduced to a bearable level.

Once the affected area has been decongested, the next step is to keep it that way. This part of the process is often called lymphedema management and it involves fitting the patient with a compression garment and teaching him or her remedial exercises to do at home. The maintenance phase of complete decongestive therapies is terribly important as failure to follow proper procedures could result in a swelling relapse.


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