Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in tissue that causes swelling, most often in the arm(s) and/or leg(s). Lymphedema can develop when lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired, or when lymph vessels are damaged or lymph nodes removed.
The treatment program depends on the cause of the lymphedema. Depending on severity, the recommended treatment plan should be determined using an approach based on the Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT) methods which consist of:
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD)
Bandaging and pressure garments
Proper skin care
CDT is used in the clinic setting to treat the symptoms of lymphedema. Although all four components play an important role, MLD requires specialized training. MLD is a highly skilled therapeutic application that follows acceptable anatomical and physiological principles of the lymphatic system.