Unfortunately, there is no cure for lymphedema. However, with early intervention and proper treatment, the condition can be controlled and minimized, allowing you to lead a full and normal life.
The goal of lymphedema treatment is to reduce the swelling and to maintain the reduction through Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT).
Lymphedema is treated with a variety of approaches, depending on it’s location in the body, and the severity.
Treatment begins with a physician’s referral to a specially trained Lymphedema Therapist. The therapist performs a thorough evaluation to determine a baseline of the individual’s range of motion, sensation, pain, strength, skin integrity, and extent of swelling.
We believe the original treatment method, known as The Vodder Techinque, also known as Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is the most effective way to treat this disorder. CDT was developed by Dr. Emil Vodder in France during the 1930’s. Over the years it was refined by several doctors, and moved from Europe, to Canada, then to the USA in the 1980’s.
Learn More About Complete Decongestive Therapy
CDT is a safe, effective, and gentle approach to draining excess fluid from the body’s tissues, including:
- Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) – special massage to promote lymph drainage.
- Meticulous Skin Care – prevents infection.
- Compression Bandaging – reduces swelling.
- Decongestive Exercise – improves functioning of the lymphatic system, range of motion, and strength.
We also use state of the art German equipment to assist in the reduction of lymphedema by breaking down the hardened protein and fibrotic tissue that have collected in the limb.
Your Treatment at the Lymphedema Therapy Center will be provided by Certified and Licensed Therapists trained in the Dr. Vodder European Method.
There are two phases
CDT - Phase I
The goal is to move the lymph fluid out of your affected area using MLD techniques and short-stretch compression bandages to reduce the swelling.
CDT - Phase II
Once the swelling is reduced, you will be fitted with a graduated compression garment, which will replace the compression bandages. Compression garments are to be worn during the day and bandages will be used at night as needed.
Compression therapy with short stretch bandages and the correct padding is a very important primary treatment method to decongest the extremity. When a bandage is applied to the limb, pressure is exerted on the tissues. During movement, the limb works against the resistance of the bandages and improves muscle pump efficiency, resulting in improved flow of lymph fluid in the affected limb.
With great therapeutic skills and good patient compliance, the bandage can be adjusted to fit the changing circumference of the affected limb. Short stretch bandages may also be worn 23-24 hours.
Compression garments (stockings/sleeves) should be used only as a secondary treatment after decreasing the edematous limb, since compression garments on their own, will not reduce swelling associated with lymphedema.
Once swelling has reduced, it is important to wear compression stockings/sleeves daily and short stretch bandages during the night as recommended by your therapist.
Best Time to Initiate Lymphedema Treatment is 2-3 Weeks After Surgery.
Early Intervention and Treatment will:
- Optimize healing of tissues
- Reduce local inflammation
- Assist the lymphatic system to begin its own healing
- Decrease scar tissue fibrosis during radiation
- Restore tissue mobility
- Decrease tightness and heaviness
- Maximize your functional return to an active life
– W. J. G
–T. L. C.