SWELLING TREATMENT PLAN
Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT)
CDT is the most effective non-invasive swelling treatment to effectively reduce lymphedema. It encompasses a variety of techniques including manual lymph drainage (MLD), compression bandaging, exercises, meticulous skin care, and self-care management. CDT consists of two phases. The first is intensive care performed in the clinic under the supervision of a physician and specially trained therapists. The techniques learned in the intensive phase will then be transitioned to your home maintenance phase. The goal of CDT for swelling treatment, is for patients to learn the self-care management techniques to help avoid future complications of living with lymphedema.
Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)
MLD is a gentle, manual technique designed to reroute lymphatic fluid around blocked or inefficient areas of your body in order to minimize swelling. It combines slow, rhythmic stretching of the skin along with deep techniques, such as breathing, to stimulate your body’s natural lymphatic function.
Short-stretch bandages are special bandages used to decompress the swelling of the limb. It is a multi-layered bandage that allows your limb to be in comfortable support up to 23 hours per day. Padding is used over a stocking to support your swollen tissues, so your limb moves against a soft, cast-like environment which helps move the lymphatic fluid. Your therapist will teach you how to apply the compression bandaging, and it will be an important part of your self-care plan.
Exercises & Skin care
Regular exercise and meticulous skin care are an important part of your self-care lymphedema management. In order to avoid possible infections, specialized cleansing of your skin with low PH soaps and lotions and being aware of cuts, knicks, and scratches is vital.
Vasopneumatic Compression Pump Therapy
Your physician and therapist may decide that you are a good candidate for pump therapy as part of your intensive phase or home treatment. The goal of pump therapy is to move excess fluid out of the affected limb and return it to the cardiovascular system. This is achieved by wearing a garment on your affected limb that is filled with air from an automated pump. The garment will inflate and release in gentle, sequential movements that imitate the natural flow of lymph from the distal end of the limb (hand or foot) toward the trunk of the body where it can be absorbed and processed. The pressure, frequency, and duration of pump therapy will be determined by your therapist.