|Treatment for Lymphedema: Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT)|
|Andrea Branas, MSE, MPT, CLT & Joy Cohn, PT, DPT, CLT|
|Good Shepherd Penn Partners|
Lymphedema occurs as a result of damage to the lymph nodes or lymph vessels.
The lymph vessels run very close to the blood vessels in our bodies and move fluid from the body through the lymph nodes and then into the blood. Lymph nodes work as filters to fight infection and help regulate swelling.
Lymphedema is chronic swelling that happens when the lymph is not moving properly. This can happen when lymph nodes are removed due to cancer. Lymph nodes can also be removed in other non-cancer surgeries. Lymph nodes and vessels can also be damaged with radiation therapy for cancer or through an injury to a body part.
Some people are born with poorly working lymph systems.
Some people have damaged leg veins or a history of blood clots. These people can also develop lymphedema due to back up of blood and fluid in the small vessels of the body.
Lymphedema results in chronic swelling that leads to tissue inflammation and scarring. The swollen body part feels harder to touch and is heavier than the non-swollen side.
How Is Lymphedema Treated?
The best treatment for lymphedema is complete decongestive therapy (CDT).
What is Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT)?
Complete decongestive therapy (CDT) has 4 parts:
How Long Does Treatment Last?
There are two phases of treatment:
How Can I Begin Complete Decongestive Therapy?
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