What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a condition in which protein rich fluid accumulates in extracellular spaces of arms and legs, causing the soft tissues to swell. Most common reasons for this condition to occur include surgery, trauma or because of undergoing radiation therapy.
As Lymphedima is a condition that is chronic in nature, it cannot be cured, but can certainly be improved with various treatments. The main objectives of lymphedima treatment are to remove accumulated fluids, reduce and control swelling and soften your body’s fibrotic tissues.
The lymphedima treatment measures that medical practitioners use, in order to improve this condition, include Complete or Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT) in conjunction with Manual lymph drainage (MLD) along with compression lymphedema therapy. Patient’s knowledge about the condition and required self care measures also help contribute towards achievement of the above stated objectives and success of the treatment for lymphedema.
Manual lymph drainage involves combination of light, rhythmic strokes applied along the effected lymphatic vessels and the surrounding tissues in order to remove the accumulated fluids. This helps reduce swelling.
Compression lymphedema treatment involves the use of several compression tools. Compression sleeves, lymphedema pump, arm gloves and gauntlets are a few examples of things used in the treatment for lymphedema. The usage of these compression garments and aids help encourage drainage of fluids along with reduction and prevention of swelling.
The compression aids are sleeves, pads or stockings that are custom fitted, and usually incorporate foam covered by a fabric, as shown in the picture on the right side.
Other than this, bandages are also used in order to induce the desired drainage effect. They work in both cases, when the patient is resting or is in an active mode. These bandages are designed in such a manner that they adjust and fit to the moving or stationary limbs.