Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of protein-rich fluid in the skin area that causes chronic inflammation and reactive fibrosis of the affected tissues. There are multiple causes of lymphedema: cancer/post cancer treatment, chronic venous insufficiency, post trauma to name a few. McMinnville Physical Therapy’s Certified Lymphedema Therapist, Christi Gilliam, PT, CLT, treats lymphedema with Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) if the patient meets the proper criteria.
There are specific areas of Complete Decongestive Therapy:
Manual lymph drainage uses light touch to move excess fluid out of the tissues and back into the lymphatic vessels.
Compression bandaging consists of layered bandaging with foam or specially fitted garments that support the affected areas to control swelling.
Remedial therapeutic exercises will help pump fluid out of the swollen area.
Skin and nail care help keep the skin clean and moisturized to help prevent infections.
The goals of the CDT are volume reduction and the affected area(s), restore mobility/function, prevention of infection, improve cosmesis, improve psychosocial morbidity and improve quality of life.
Christi Gilliam, PT, CLT received her certification for Lymphedema treatment at Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy in 2012.