Lymphedema

By Renay Brown, Certified Lymphedema Therapist

Photo from Norton School of Lymphatic Drainage

What is it?

Lymphedema is the swelling of a body part usually occurring in the extremities (arms and legs). It can also occur in the face, neck, and abdomen. Lymphedema is the result of the abnormal accumulation of protein-rich edema fluid in the affected area.

Lymphedema is classified as either primary or secondary.

Primary Lymphedema is the result of lymphatic dysplasia (hypoplasia or hyperplasia) and may be present at birth that may develop later in life without obvious cause.

Second Lymphedemameans there is a known cause for the presence of lymphedema in a body part. It is much more common especially as a result of cancer therapy (surgery, radiation). Secondary may also occur after injury, scarring, trauma or infection of the lymphatic system.

There are 3 stages of lymphedema from mild to severe

STAGES OF LYMPHEDEMA

LATENCY STAGE
lymphatic transport capacity is reduced
- no visible/palpable edema
-subjective complaints are possible

STAGE I
(Reversible Lymphedema)
-accumulation of protein-rich edema fluid
-pitting edema
- reducible with elevation (no fibrosis)

STAGE II
(Irreversible Lymphedema)
-accumulation of protein-rich edema fluid
-pitting becomes progressively more difficult
-fibrosis

STAGE III
-accumulation of protein-rich edema fluid
-non-pitting
-fibrosis and sclerosis
-skin changes (papillomas, hyperkeratosis, etc.)

Treatment

MLD technique

Manual Lymph Drainageis a gentle massage technique that activates the lymphatic system. This treatment is very sufficient when the transport capacity of the lymph vessels is reduced because of prior surgery or radiation treatment. This treatment does not have long lasting results if carried out as an isolated treatment for lymphedema. MLD can have success in many conditions unrelated to lymphedema like cold decongestion, post surgical, post traumatic edema, rheumatoid arthritis, complex regional pain syndrome etc.

CDT

Complete Decongestive Therapy is a combination of MLD, compression bandaging, remedial exercises and skin/nail care. CDT is divided into two treatment phases. Intensive phase which is then followed with the maintenance phase. Intensive phase usually takes between 2-4 weeks, maintenance phase is usually continued indefinitely.

Office Hours

Statutory Holidays (Closed)

Edson Family Chiropractic & Natural Health Centre

Monday:

8:00 am-8:00 pm

Tuesday:

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Wednesday:

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Thursday:

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Friday:

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Saturday:

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