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Comprehensive Lymphedema Management

Written by Amy Hall
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The Importance of A Comprehensive Lymphedema Management Plan

A comprehensive lymphedema management plan is of the utmost importance because it can make all the difference in a patient's life. Unfortunately, there is no cure for lymphedema, but there are helpful treatments that can make it manageable. For instance, a patient with lymphedema can undergo physical therapy, massage therapy, and receive specific treatments such as complete decongestive therapy which includes lymph drainage.

People with this condition can find relief by practicing good care and following basic guidelines. Manual lymphatic drainage and complete decongestive therapy help patients tremendously. This treatment is a gentle light touch manual treatment technique which promotes lymph flow through the collateral (superficial) lymph vessels to channel the lymph into normal functioning lymphatic vessels and nodes. These collateral lymph vessels are usually working normally and the problem lies in the deeper vessels which were damaged and scarred.

Other Treatment Options

Other treatments such as bandaging, skin care, and exercise make up a comprehensive lymphedema management program. The therapist places compression bandaging around the affected limb. Often foams chip pads are placed under the bandaging to increase pressure on fibrotic areas to break down scar tissue. These bandages stay on 24 hours a day throughout the treatment period, and they only come off to shower, do skin care, assess the swelling reduction and to do the MLD.

Cleansing with a low PH soap is necessary, and Cetaphil is a good brand that is often recommended. Skin should be moisturized after bathing with lotions like Nivea or Eucerin. Finally, an individualized exercise program will be given by the therapist to each patient with will improve muscular contractions and joint mobility.

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