Don't struggle with the burden of Lymphoedema on your own. Karin Stepputtis - our resident expert Accredited Lymphoedema Physiotherapist can help you manage Lymphoedema.
Lymphoedema is a condition of localized fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system (the network of vessels that carry and clear fluid).
Primary lymphoedema may arise at any age and is usually genetic in origin.
Secondary lymphoedema is not uncommon in those who have undergone cancer surgery where lymph nodes may or may not have been removed. If you have had surgery that has involved removal of lymph nodes, there is a higher risk of developing lymphoedema in time. It can also occur as a secondary complication after deep vein thrombosis or vein stripping surgery.
Here at Christies Beach Physiotherapy, we aim to achieve a reduction in size and an improvement in the functioning of limbs, and to optimise quality of life.
A consultation with the Physiotherapist will initially involve a thorough assessment of the affected limb and then treatment solutions that may include:
- Lymphatic Massage
- Instruction for home-based lymphatic drainage
- Appropriate exercise advice and prescription
- Measuring for ordering/fitting of compression garments - (cost is kept as low as possible for these garments and any necessary bandages.)
- Prevention advice
Care should be taken with air travel, particularly long distance air travel, when you have lymphoedema. We are able to measure and fit the appropriate garments and provide you with advice for effective management while you are travelling.
The treatment is not a cure for lymphoedema. There is no known cure. Treatment is designed to reduce the swelling, improve the lymphatic drainage and increase the mobility of the limbs, thereby relieving the pain, aching, heaviness, tightness and discomfort and improving the patient's well-being and ability to lead a normal life. The treatment also includes education of the patient about the nature of the condition and how best to live with the problem.
At the completion of the treatment, patients are fitted with a compression garment in the form of a sleeve/glove or stocking to maintain the improvement gained from the treatment and control the oedema. The amount of improvement gained from the treatment varies, depending on a number of factors such as whether the lymphoedema is primary or secondary, the length of time it has been present, whether the oedema is soft or hard and the age of the patient. To date, the average reduction in oedema is in excess of 70% for both arms and legs.
Patients are re-assessed periodically and supplied with new compression garments. A further course of treatment is given if necessary.