Lymphoedema treatment

Manual lymph drainage (MLD) and combined decongestive therapy (CDT) are combined to reduce, treat and manage different swellings.

MLD massage is a light, painless massage that uses stretching techniques along the lymphatic vessels to stimualte the fine lymphatic vessels that are found under the skin. It is beneficial in the treatment of lymphoedema. Through the pumping and stretching effect on the lymph vessels, MLD massage stimulates the muscles, which in turn assists the lymph to drain protein and waste products from the lymphatic vessels.

MLD is both a preventative and a remedial treatment. Prevention of lymphoedema is the aim as there is no cure for lymphoedema. Early diagnosis and treatment is recommended

Deep tissue or heavy massage techniques may worsen the lymphoedema condition and is not advisable.

MLD is safe to use throughout pregnancy to assist in the reduction of oedema.

Symptoms of headaches/migraines, sinusitis, tinnitus/menieres disease, burns/scars, venous ulcers, muscle/tendon tears, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, palliative care, may also benefit from manual lymph drainage massage.

Medical Lymph Drainage Massage is recommended both prior to and following surgery.

Indications for lymphoedema treatment

Prior to surgery:

  • Cosmetic/plastic

Post operatively:

  • Stripping of Varicose veins
  • Post cosmetic/plastic surgery, mastectomy, hysterectomy
  • Lymphoedema prevention and management
  • Reduction in swelling, increase mobility
  • Pain relief
  • Scar reduction

If the swelling is rapid, it can cause pain, loss of function and numbness in extremities.

Lymphoedema treatment involves instructing each patient in specialised self management techniques.

The major components of CLT (complex lymphoedema therapy) include:

  1. Manual lymphatic drainage (mld), education on care of the limb, body part
  2. Compression therapy using multi layering bandaging when necessary and compression garments individually prescribed
  3. Low level laser therapy
  4. Skin and feet care
  5. Dietary advice
  6. Exercise program
  7. Cautions and precautions

A Comprehensive medical and physical assessment is carried out with every new patient. The assessment usually takes one to one and a half hours, depending on the complexity of the condition.

A medical referral is not required for an assessment or treatment of lymphoedema. However, communication with a patient’s GP can be beneficial in the continuity of care.

Tips to remember

  • Seek early diagnosis and treatment if lymphoedema symptoms appear
  • Observe the limb/s for any changes.
  • Well balanced diet and daily exercise.