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Definition of lymphoedema

Lymphoedema is described as a swelling of a limb or other parts of the body when the lymphatic system is not able to work normally. It can result from congenital malformation or damage of the lymphatics or lymph nodes. When arising, it will be all the life and so, chronic. Lymphoedema cannot be cured at present but appropriate management may ease symptoms.

The intervention depends on the stage/severity, locations of the lymphoedema and previous interventions (self management, compression…). Also, it depends on the personal and medical history.

Why does lymphoedema require management?

Management of lymphoedema will help you to prevent progression of the volume of liquid and associated symptoms.

Lymphoedema can be reduced and stabilized by management. There are risks like skin breakdown or infection which can occur if lymphoedema is not managed. By reducing lymphoedema, you will contribute to reduce these risks and improve your function (how you move your affected limb and how you do things with it). These will benefit your overall quality of life. Patients will have the best outcome if the treatment starts early.

What are the components of lymphoedema treatment?

  • Assessment of the body part affected by the lymphoedema
  • MLD : Manual Lymphatic Drainage
  • Compression therapy
  • Skin care
  • Exercises
  • Education and training in self-management: self-lymphatic drainage, bandaging, exercises, skin care, garments
  • Education about lymphoedema and associated risks

Please be aware that patients may not require all components of the treatment all the time. At Be Well Physiotherapy, each treatment is individualized.

Where could my lymphoedema be managed?

It is better to be treated by therapists who are specifically lymphoedema trained.

Our Lymphoedema Physiotherapist was trained in Lymphoedema Physiotherapy in Europe and at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital.