Management of Lymphoedema

Management of Lymphoedema

Complete Decongestive Therapy

While all treatments for lymphoedema should be tailored specifically to the patient, CDT treatment includes at least two phases, which are equivalent in all therapies. These phases need to be repeated after about 4-6 months.

This usually takes two to four weeks of treatment until a plateau of decongestion has been reached.

Phase 1: Intensive - Oedema Reduction

During the first phase of acute decompression the bandages are kept on the limb(s) at ALL times except during MLD sessions.

Phase 2: Maintenance - Stabilisation and optimisation

After the plateau of decompression, we can switch from bandages to compression garments during the day. Your therapist can measure you for made-to-measure garments.

Phase 3: Follow up (as required)

 As in phase 1.


Components of CDT

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is an advanced massage technique that stimulates the lymphatic system and mobilises the skin with a series of gentle, rhythmical, wave-like movements along the lymphatic vessels and surrounding tissues. It facilitates lymph flow into the venous circulation utilising lymph vesselsand existing lymphovenous anastomoses thus reducing swelling and removing congestion and stagnation in the affected area.  In a compromised lymphatic system lymph is rerouted from blocked and swollen regions to healthy and functioning nodes

It is however most effective when combined with compression bandaging, skin care and exercises.

Multilayer Bandaging

In the intensive phase of treatment, multilayer bandaging is used after MLD to provide support and to apply pressuere to the underlying tissue, preventing re-accumulation of fluid into the vessels and veins. It can also reduce fibrosis and reshape the limb.



The aim is to enhance the efficiency of the muscle pump, hence increasing lymph circulation. Compression bandages or compression stockings are always worn during this therapy. Each patient is given individually tailored exercises suited to their particular requirements. Exercises such as swimming or nordic Walking should be performed as often as possible.

Skin Care

Good skin care is essential to maintain skin integrity and reduce risk of infection. The components of good skin care are meticulous hygiene, use of emollients, monitoring for cuts and abrasions and prompt action at the first sign of infection. Skin care should be carried out twice daily, morning and evening.

Compression Garments

Towards the end of the intensive phase patients are recommended that they be measured for an appropriate compression garment. During the maintenance phase, containment of the affected limb is achieved through the daily wearing of these compression garments (stocking or sleeve) which is essential for maximum success as it continues to work on reducing the swelling. The compression garments should be replaced after 6 months.

To enquire about lymphoedema management & treatment please contact Marion either by telephone or fill in the Contact us form.