What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of protein-rich fluid (lymph) due to lymphatic system insufficiency. It affects the face, extremities, trunk, abdomen, and internal organs.
Main causes of Lymphedema
- Malformation of the lymphatic system
- Surgical removal of lymph nodes
What does Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Complete Decongestive Therapy (MLD/CDT) mean?
MLD/CDT is a complete, comprehensive plan to manage lymphedema. It is a non-invasive, painless and effective therapy for lymphedema and other related conditions.
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD):
MLD is a gentle manual treatment technique that improves the activity of the lymph vessels by mild mechanical stretches on the wall of lymph collectors. MLD re-routes the lymph flow, via tissue channels and lymph vessels around the blocked areas, to more centrally-located lymph vessels that drain directly to the venous system.
- Compression Therapy:
In order to prevent re-accumulation of fluid it is necessary to apply sufficient compression to the affected extremity. Compression therapy also improves the function of the muscle pumps, helps reduce fibrotic tissue and promotes venous and lymphatic return.
The therapist designs a customized exercise program for each patient. These decongestive exercises help the effects of the joint and muscle pumps and should be performed by the patient wearing the compression bandage or garment.
- Skin Care
The skin in lymphedema is very susceptible to infections and usually dry. Skin care is essential in order to keep the skin in an optimal and healthy condition.