Coastal Bend Lymphedema Center
Coastal Bend Lymphedema Center
Managing Your Lymphedema Needs
If you have just been through prior treatment, or have been living with lymphedema for years, our team can help assist you in achieving your decongestion goals. From the intensive phase of manual techniques, exercise, and custom-fit wrapping, all the way to the maintenance phase of custom garment fitting, your Norton Certified Therapist will be with you every step of the way. Lymphedema is a lifelong condition, so let the Coastal Bend Lymphedema Center support you on your continued journey to help you live your life to its fullest. Let us make Your Care. Our Priority.
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What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema (either primary or secondary) is a mechanical failure of the of the lymphatic system where the load of protein and fluid exceeds the maximum capacity your body can transfer. This protein-rich fluid accumulates in the interstitial space of the affected region. Lymphedema can affect most areas of the body, but you typically see it in the extremities, including genitalia, as well as the head and neck.
Lymphedema can be classified in 4 different stages, which are based on characteristics of the affected skin region. Characteristics of pure lymphedema include:
Slow onset, at varying stages is pitting, begins in distal regions and can work towards the trunk, asymmetrical limbs, not commonly painful - just uncomfortable, and limbs described as heavy.
Changes in the skin, other than swelling, are also to be expected. They might include: cellulitis, wounds, squaring out of toes, swelling on top of feet or back of hand, loss of contours through regions of the ankles and wrist.
Lymphedema doesn’t always happen exclusively and there are other diagnoses for swelling. Lipedema, Venous Edema, Congestive Heart Failure, Mixedema, Deep Vein Thrombosis, recent surgical intervention, and Malignant Tumors can all create swelling - it is important to get a full work up from your medical team to identify the source of the swelling.
Currently, the most effective and least invasive approach recommended by physicians is Complete Decongestion Therapy (CDT).
How can Complete Decongestion Therapy (CDT) Help Me?
First, you will have an initial evaluation and assessment for appropriateness for the program. Once, medical clearance is established (which must include a scan to rule out DVT and Arterial insufficiency) treatment can begin, starting with the Intensive Phase.
This typically requires approximately 2-4 weeks, with 5 treatments per week - until edema has plateaued. Treatment will include:
Manual Lymphatic Drainage – consists of rhythmic light stretch and pull to mobilize edema
This is a medical technique that requires a maximum amount of skin exposure through trunk and affected limb. You will be in a private room and draped appropriately.
Bandaging – a semi-custom foam will be cut and bandaged to your affected limb to promote continued fluidity of edema and to limit refill.
In the intensive phase, bandages will be worn for 23 hours of the day; only to be taken off during your treatment session. This will continue until your edema has plateaued.
Light exercises – Exercise is important to get a muscle contraction to continue to pump fluid through the body system.
Once edema has plateaued, you will be fitted for custom garments to reduce the refill of edema through the limb.
Follow-up at 3, 6, and 12 months is recommended to make sure edema and garments are still at appropriate levels.
Continued exercise is also recommended.
If you have any questions, please contact our office to speak with our Certified Lymphedema Therapist or supporting staff. Need more resources? Click on the links provided below to get more information.