Although lymphedema has no cure, treatment and medication is still necessary to avoid complications from developing. Part of this treatment process is lymphedema therapy. There are several ways and methods on how this is executed. The most common and frequently used treatment is the complex physical decongestive therapy or CPDT. There are four components that make-up this process.
The first involves manual lymph drainage or decongestion. In this first component, the patient’s affected area is massaged using a special technique that was pioneered by Dr. Emil Vodder. These massages are conducted daily to move the retained fluid or lymph to places where it can be drained. Usually, the massage therapy would last 40-60 minutes. Aside from therapeutic, it is also very relaxing and comfortable.
The affected area is then wrapped with a short-stretch bandage to make sure that the results of the decongestion process are maintained. After a month, the patient is made to wear a custom-made garment used specifically for the affected limb. The garment will prevent re-accumulation of lymph on the affected area.
The next two components of CPDT involve skin care and therapeutic exercise. Meticulous skin care is very important because infections from a tiny cut can aggravate the disease. The exercise should be done while wearing the garment. This will help improve lymph flow and muscle tone.
Another type of therapy involves the use of pneumatic pumps to ease the swelling. Known as sequential gradient therapy, this process utilizes an inflatable sleeve to gently redirect the lymph fluid. People experiencing fibrosis or toughening of the tissue uses this type of therapy to soften the hardened tissue.
Doctors may require the combination of these therapies to produce a better overall effect. It will require patients though, to frequently visit their doctors to avail of these therapies. For certain, lymphedema therapies are less risky options to surgical procedures. Despite the fact that a cure is yet to be found, patients will definitely benefit from these therapies.
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