Frequently Asked Questions About Lymphedema Treatment

April 3, 2020

What is the Lymphatic Treatment – Manual Drainage (MLD)?

MLD is a gentle type of skin stretch massage technique that promotes lymph to drain out of a limb into an area that drains normally.  It is mainly used for lymphedema.  In addition to improving lymph circulation, MLD also increases blood flow in deep and superficial veins.

What is Complex Decongestive Physiotherapy (CDP)

Complex Decongestive Physiotherapy (CDP) also called Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is an intensive program that combines many different treatment approaches including manual lymph drainage, bandaging, exercise, pumping, compression garments and more.  Many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of CDP for improving lymphedema symptoms.

What is the purpose of being bandaged?

Multi-layer compression bandaging provides meaningful external compression.  Lymphedema relies on muscular contractions, and sometimes gravity to help lymph drain out of interstitial spaces between cells and back into lymph vessels for re-circulation back to the center of the body.  As with veins of the circulatory system, there are even some valves to prevent backflow.  The goal is to manage symptoms and minimize the impact of the condition on your life.  Bandaging is one of the tools used to treat your condition consistently in order to limit or slow its progression.

Why do I have to reduce my salt intake?

Salt promotes fluid retention.  People who are sensitive to salt may exacerbate their symptoms if they eat high-sodium foods.  Current recommendations for salt intake are less than 2,300mg for healthy individuals and less than 1,500 mg for people with lymphedema.

Why is hygiene so important?

Meticulous hygiene is necessary to remove bacteria— cleanse the skin regularly and dry thoroughly. It is also important to check frequently for any cracks or rashes; as lymphedema patients are prone to infections.

What is the length of  Lymphedema treatment?

Lymphedema treatment with (MLD) and  (CDP) lasts anywhere from three weeks to three months depending on the severity and how the body responds to the treatment.

Do I have to exercise?

Exercise is important with lymphedema due to the lack of a “pump” for the lymph system. To help facilitate the removal of fluid, muscle contractions are required. Exercise should be performed slowly and rhythmically without vigorous or strenuous movements as those movements may cause pain and discomfort.

What is a sequential vasopneumatic compression pump?

A Vasopneumatic compression pump is a machine that has an inflatable sleeve or vest garment attached to multiple chambers which inflate alternately to stimulate the flow of lymph in the right direction.

What is Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a painful skin infection that happens when bacteria enters a break in your skin.  It can become life-threatening if left untreated, so call our doctor ASAP if you have a red, swollen, tender and painful rash.

What do I do once my treatment ends?

Lymphedema is a life-long condition, but continuing to do what was taught by your Lymphedema therapist will help you successfully keep your lymphedema under control.  Continuing with your exercises, wearing your compression bandages at night, weight management and a healthy diet are all important to managing your lymphedema on your own.   Keeping your affected limb elevated when possible lets gravity help drain the fluid.   If you received a sequential vasopneumatic compression pump, continue to use it as instructed to keep your lymphedema under control, as well as continuing with your self MLD.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Lymphedema Therapy Specialists

We are happy to serve you and all of your Lymphedema needs. We are located in central Houston, TX providing a convenient location for patients who reside in Houston or surrounding areas.

If you are looking for Lymphedema treatment in Houston, TX, contact us now!

We will do everything we can to treat you as soon as possible.