Complex Decongestive Therapy for Lymphedema

Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT) was developed to treat more serious cases of lymphedema not caused by infection. CDT consists of several treatment methods including: manual lymphatic drainage; bandaging; proper skin care and diet; compression garments; remedial exercises; self-manual lymphatic drainage and bandaging; and continuation of preventative methods throughout treatment. Seeking out treatment early on can lead to a shorter course of therapy.

While most of the CDT methods are clear, many patients have questions about Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD). The procedure involves a specific type of massage that moves built up fluid around the blocked vessel, across the chest to where the lymphatic system is intact. After a 60 to 90 minute session, the area is bandaged to keep the limb from getting congested. Following a completed course of MLD treatments, a patient needs to wear a lymphedema sleeve every day. Every six months or so, a patient should be measured for a new sleeve, to ensure a proper fit.



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