Lymphatic & Venous Disorders

Lymphedema Treatment

The recommended treatments in lymphatic and venous disorders will depend heavily on the individual diagnosis, and may include manual therapies, medications, dietary management, procedural interventions, or even surgery.

Many of the patients in our center have lymphedema as a major component of the clinical problem. In the context of lymphedema, we have very specific short- and long-term goals:

  • Maximal reduction of edema and restoration of normal volume of the limbs
  • Optimal skin care and maintenance of normal skin texture
  • Reduction of the risk of recurrent infection
  • Maximal restoration of normal function of the limbs
  • Patient education to foster independent maintenance of health

Treatment of lymphedema is accomplished through complex decongestive lymphatic physiotherapy.

  • Decongestive Lymphatic Therapy:
    • Manual Lymphatic Drainage: A specialized massage technique that stimulates lymphatic flow and has been shown to reduce the incidence of infection. Our therapists can reduce edema in areas not readily accessible to compression devices and garments (head, chest, shoulder, back, flank, and groin). The massage techniques are also effective in the promotion of wound healing and the restoration of normal skin texture.
    • Multilayer Compressive Bandaging: Special short-stretch bandages are applied in a specific manner to provide a pressure gradient that reduces edema volume.
    • Decongestive Exercises: Simple muscular exercises promote venous and lymphatic flow.
    • Meticulous Skin Care: Assessment and maintenance of skin integrity is a central issue in the care of patients with lymphedema.
    • Patient Education: Our nurses give patients and families extensive home-care instruction. Home maintenance is critical to management of these chronic conditions. Self-administered manual lymphatic drainage, bandaging, use of compression garments (and devices, as needed), a home exercise program, and skin care techniques are all taught during treatment at the center. Therapy of posthrombotic syndrome/chronic venous insufficiency involves an individualized program that incorporates many of these principles.
  • Other compressive methods and devices:
    • Compressive Garments: Custom-fitted sleeves, stockings, and other garments are utilized to maintain long-term reductions in limb volume.
    • Exercise: Group and individual exercise programs promote strength and increased motion.
    • Other devices: Farrow wraps, the Flexi-touch device, pneumatic sequential pumps, the Reid sleeve, the Legacy sleeve, the CircAid device, and others are all available for use in an individually prescribed manner.
  • Surgical and catheter-based interventions will be prescribed where feasible and appropriate

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