Lymphoedema treatments need to be customized to accommodate the individual needs and lifestyles of our patients. We offer a range of services to facilitate lymphatic drainage, monitor and educate you to self-manage in the long term. Depending on your stage of lymphoedema you may only require one or two of these. For example, those with mild lymphoedema may only require education, exercise and skin care, with 6 monthly L-Dex monitoring. For those with moderate to severe lymphoedema, treatment may need to be staged in two phases.
LYMPHOEDEMA TREATMENT STAGES
PHASE ONE – INTENSIVE TREATMENT
This is usually daily treatment involving:
- Skin care to optimise the condition of the skin, reverse skin changes and treat infections
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) to enhance lymph flow. This precedes bandaging and directs lymph fluid to functioning lymphatic territories and helps to establish collateral drainage pathways
- Application of multi-layer compression bandaging – this can be traditional, or Coban 2
- Exercises to increase lymphatic and venous flow
- Psychosocial support
- A compression garment is prescribed, following a successful reduction – this is essential to preserve the reduction achieved by treatment and to help prevent progression of the lymphoedema
- Education is incorporated to ensure that the client understands their condition and all parts of the intensive treatment as well as the importance of phase II.
PHASE TWO – HOME MAINTENANCE AND ONGOING MONITORING
Clients are educated by their therapist in the need for self-management to maintain the results achieved in Phase I. Without the active involvement of the client, the successful outcome of treatment may not be sustained. The routine adopted may vary from person to person but will usually include
- daily skin care and prevention of infection
- regular self massage
- wearing of the prescribed compression garment(s).
Clients at every stage of treatment will be encouraged to practice self monitoring and adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes attention to diet, fitness and weight management. This is where the PINC or STEEL Cancer Rehabilitation can be incorporated into the management programme for lymphoedema.
At times this treatment may be offered in a modified form to accommodate particular individual needs and lifestyle.
More information may be found on the following websites: