Lymphoedema is a condition where the accumulation of excessive amounts of protein-rich fluid in the tissue results in swelling of one or more regions of the body. Lymphoedema usually affects the limb(s) although it may also involve the trunk, breast, head and neck or genital area. Lymphoedema is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management.
You may have primary lymphoedema (when the lymphatic vessels have not developed properly) or secondary lymphoedema. The most common causes are damage to the lymphatic system from cancer itself or it’s treatments such as lymph node removal, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
Secondary Lymphoedema can also arise with trauma, infection such as cellulitis and filariasis. It may also be due to a mixed aetiology and can be associated with venous disease, immobility, obesity and lipoedema.
What to expect from your first appointment
In your first appointment we will take a full medical history and discuss the history of the oedema that you are experiencing, when it started, what treatments you have tried in the past and look at what helps and what hasn’t helped.
We will assess the swollen area and take circumferential measurements with a measuring tape and ask you to fill in a quality of life questionnaire as we know that lymphoedema can affect many aspects of your daily life.
From here we will discuss a treatment plan that will include some or all of the following:
When we are happy that the limb is reduced through compression bandaging or if no bandaging is needed, then we will measure you for a compression garment. There are a variety of options available through a few different companies and your therapist can explain their reasoning for the garment they have prescribed. If you require a compression garment this needs to be looked after to maintain its effectiveness and requires replacing after approximately six months of daily use.
We will review the exercise programme that has been provided and progress these as able or look at other activities that could be incorporated into your daily life. The therapist can perform manual lymphatic drainage to assist lymphatic flow and review your technique for self massage to help your ongoing lymphoedema maintenance.
The aim of our treatment is to give you the tools to feel empowered to manage this condition long term. We can discuss and adjust the treatment plan to work at your pace and to fit into your lifestyle.
We are here to help you at your place with your physio needs. Contact US today and we can come up with a plan that works for you and your needs.Get in touch with us today