Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) for Lymphedema
Lymphedema is a progressive condition that involves swelling in the body due to a blockage in the lymphatic system, which often occurs when lymph nodes are removed or damaged through surgery and/or cancer treatments. Lymphedema can be diagnosed through a variety of clinical tests, some of which include MRI, CT scan, and Doppler ultrasound to help determine the area of blockage.
While there is no cure for lymphedema, Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is considered the gold standard for treating lymphedema and reducing any resulting swelling and possible infection. CDT treatments can include targeted exercise, manual lymphatic drainage, compression bandaging, skin care, and lymphedema-specific education to help provide patients with the necessary tools to properly manage this chronic condition.
At HealthBridge Arlington Heights, we offer aggressive CDT through a highly skilled team of physical and occupational therapists with targeted training and certifications in CDT programs. Our team has successfully treated countless patients suffering with lymphedema. Our goal is to facilitate a safe discharge and provide our patients the necessary resources to continue to appropriately manage this condition once beyond our walls.
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Commonly Asked Questions
Edema is known as excessive fluid retention and swelling and affects one’s arms or legs. Unlike edema, lymphedema is when this condition is related to a compromised lymphatic system. This progressive condition indicates that the lymphatic transport system is unable to handle the fluids leaking from the lymph system. This system is responsible for removing harmful substances from the body.
Primary lymphedema is usually result of a child born with missing or impaired lymph nodes. Secondary lymphedema is often a result of cancer surgery, kidney disease, vascular impairment, obesity, cardiovascular disease and trauma.
While secondary lymphedema is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, it can be treated. The primary goal of treatment is reducing the swelling and pain management. This is done through light exercise, proper skin care, drainage and compression.
Light activity can be helpful with lymphedema, but should be discussed with your doctor.
While lymphedema cannot go away on its own, treatment can alleviate symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening.
The best therapy for lymphedema is called Complete Decongestive Therapy which involves compression, drainage, exercise, weight loss, restricted travel and heat avoidance.
Complete decongestive therapy (CDT) is recognized as the best treatment for lymphedema and is an ongoing noninvasive process.Complete decongestive therapy is a combination of manual lymphatic drainage, compression, exercises, skin care and nutrition.