Category Archives: Lymphedema

Lymphedema Therapy

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.

Lymphedema 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.

Hydroven 3 Lymphedema Pump Garment

Hydroven 3 Garment

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.

Compression Stockings

Compression stockings are a specially designed product to treat and prevent venous disorders such as edema, thrombosis and phlebitis. They are like any other stocking in appearance but perform differently. Compression stockings are available in two typical lengths which are knee high and thigh high.

Functioning

Compression stockings exert considerable pressure on the legs, which reduces the diameter of swollen veins. This increases blood flow and improves effectiveness of the valves. The great length compresses the veins considerably, and the blood is made to pass through narrowed vessels in the entire leg. Consequently, arterial pressure increases, and more blood is transferred back to the heart.

Types

There are two main types of compression support stockings: gradient compression stockings and anti embolism stockings.

Gradient Compression Stockings

Gradient compression stockings apply a non uniform pressure on the leg. These stockings are tightest around the ankles, where they create maximum pressure. The applied pressure is reduced on the knees and thighs.

Gradient compression stockings are worn by an ambulatory person who is inactive, and a person who sits with dangling feet for a long time. This causes blood to accumulate in the feet, and so the calf muscles must be forced to increase their pumping action to transfer blood back to the heart.

A person, who is suffering from lower limb edema, has a higher chance of blood clot formation or has swollen legs due to diabetics or any other reason can also make use of gradient compression stockings.

Anti-Embolism Compression Stockings

Anti-Embolism Compression Stockings or TED compression hoses are generally used by a non ambulatory person. They apply the same amount of pressure throughout the leg, unlike the gradient compression stockings.  Hence the compression level is the same.

These stockings are recommended for patients in the recovery phase or going through post surgical treatments.

Living With Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a big problem for a lot of people.  It can happen because of an illness or because of surgery.  But when you are living with lymphedema, you are going to find that you have to make some adjustments.  Here are some things to know about living with lymphedema and what you need to know about it.

When you have to reduce an area that is swollen back to the regular size, you are going to find that it can take some time. There are different ways that it can be accomplished, such as drainage. This is a lot like massage. It pushes fluids through the person’s blood vessels so that the patient’s lymphatic system can circulate them properly.

It doesn’t require medication, it’s not painful, and gives results that are immediate. When the treatment is done, it’s followed by wrapping the area with bandages that are for compression. These bandages will prevent fluids from accumulating again. They will also help to break down the scar tissue. These bandages need to be put on all the time, except during treatment and cleaning.


One thing to remember when you have lymphedema is that you have to take good care of your skin. Your affected area is going to be prone to trauma and infection, so cuts, dryness, and bruising should be avoided by having a care program that is preventative. You should use cleanser that has a pH level that is low. It shouldn’t be antibacterial and it shouldn’t have any perfumes.

Make sure that you moisturize your skin after a bath or shower. You can also use lotion as suggested by your doctor. Speicial lotions can be purchased at medical supply companies. Your skin should be dried gently and completely after bathing. Be careful not to irritate or bruise the area. Anything can bring infection, so you should be careful.

How Do You Treat Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is an accumulation of fluid, most often noticed in swelling in the arms and legs. It is caused by some disturbance in the lymph vessels or nodes. For example, they may be missing or damaged.

Living with Lymphedema

Primary lymphedema doesn’t happen very often and is a birth defect wherein certain lymph vessels are missing or malformed at birth. Secondary lymphedema is caused by something that brings about a blockage or interruption in the flow of lymph through the system. It can come about because of an infection, surgery, trauma, radiation, scar tissue, cancer, or a blood clot in a vein.

Anyone who has had one of these procedures could be at risk for lymphedema:

  1. Radiation therapy to a lymph node
  2. Mastectomy and lymph node removal
  3. Lumpectomy and lymph node removal
  4. Modified radical mastectomy with lymph node removal
  5. Cancer surgery and/or radiation therapy to a part of the body that contains lymph nodes

Timing is unpredictable. It can come on days, months, or years after the causative event. Breast surgery obviously brings about changes in the drainage pathways for fluids that are a part of the immune system. Physicians are aware of the possibility of lymphedema developing after a surgery and will be on the lookout for it.

Some symptoms you might want to be aware of:

  1. Jewelry that suddenly is tight on your finger or arm.
  2. Juzo Soft Circlar Knit Dream Sleeve

  3. Diminished flexibility of your hand, wrist, or ankle.
  4. Your clothing is suddenly tight in only one place.
  5. Skin feels tight.
  6. Legs and/or arms feel heavy.

Diagnosis will come after your physician has carefully evaluated your medical history. He/she will particularly be interested in surgeries and treatments as well as any medications you’re taking. Your doctor will quiz you about symptoms and will conduct a complete physical. More tests may be needed.

Treatment varies. The stage of the illness will be a factor as will the cause. In any case, the patient must learn to manage the case. Your health professionals will teach you and others close to you how to carry out the treatment.

If there is an infection, you will get antibiotics. However, bandaging, skin care, diet, compression clothing, exercise, draining of the lymphs, massage and lymphedema pumps are typical of prescribed treatments.

Many products to help in the care of lymphedema are available at Vitality Medical. For example, a range of compression support gauntlets are available including both mens stockings and womens stockings. Anti-embolism stockings may also be prescribed, and Vitality Medical has them. The advantages you will enjoy by buying from Vitality Medical are convenience and cost. You won’t have to leave the privacy of your home to order. Vitality Medical offers discount medical supplies to hospitals, care facilities and home care.