Lymphedema Treatment and Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT):
Lymphedema is a progressive and chronic “swelling” or accumulation of protein rich fluid. The accumulation occurs in the subcutaneous tissues which can have significant pathological and clinical consequences if left untreated. Therefore, it can affect the face, trunk, abdomen, genitals, and most often the extremities. Congenital malformation or more as a result of surgery or radiation therapy for cancer can be a cause for Lymphedema. Lymphedema may not be curable, however Lymphedema Treatment helps manage the disease.
A therapeutic approach or Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is used to aid Lymphedema. CDT is a non-invasive, painless, and effective therapy for lymphedema which has been popular in Europe since the 1960s. It is also popular in the United States. The Lymphedema Treatment consists of four basic steps:
- Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD): skilled manual technique that improves the activity of the lymph vessels. In addition, it re-routs the lymph flow around blocked areas to eventually drain into the venous system in order to decongest the swollen extremities.
- Compression Therapy: use of bandages and or compression garments in order to prevent the reaccumulation of fluid. It also improves the function of the muscle pump, reduces the formation of fibrotic tissue in the skin and promotes venous and lymphatic return.
- Therapeutic exercises: a set of customized individualized decongestive exercises program designed for each patient to aid the effects of the joint and muscle pumps and assist in decongesting the affected areas.
- Skin Care: Lymphedema can cause damaging and long lasting skin changes and also make it more susceptible to infections. Therefore, patients will receive thorough education on proper skin care in order to preserve the skin’s integrity and health.
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