The mainstay of Lymphedema treatment has been non-surgical, Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT). CDT consists of patient education on skin care, MLD, bandaging and compression garment therapy, breathing exercises and dietary measures.
CDT is typically performed by a physical, occupational or massage therapist with special Lymphedema training and may involve the use of compression garments, bandages, specialized massage, and special sequential pumps and devices. CDT may remain a significant part of a patient’s treatment, especially in patients with a more advanced disease.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a massage type therapy designed to move the lymphatic fluid and proteins out of the affected area and back into the circulation.
Compression garments are available in many different shapes, sizes and levels of compression. They are available as off-the-shelf or custom types. Because such a wide range of garments are available, the type of garment used should be chosen with the help of an experienced lymphedema therapist.
Conservative lymphedema therapy works best when lymphedema swelling is caused by excess fluid. This usually occurs in early stages, when solids have not yet accumulated. Conservative therapy can be especially effective when used as part of a comprehensive lymphedema treatment system, such as the FLOSM System, which provides options for both conservative therapy and lymphedema surgery when appropriate.