Lymphoedema is the swelling of a body part, usually the extremities but it can occur in the face, neck, trunk, chest wall, abdomen or genitals. It is a condition caused by the abnormal accumulation of protein rich lymphatic fluid in the affected area that causes swelling.
Lymphoedema is known as the step-child of Medicine. It is immensely under studied and one of the most commonly misdiagnosed and mistreated condition associated with cancer treatments, cardiac, orthopaedic, and vascular conditions, surgeries and survivorship. Its seriousness and the problems it creates are poorly misunderstood in the medical community.
Lymphoedema and other oedema pathologies that involve uncontrolled swelling can and should be safely treated following an accurate diagnosis utilizing the up-to-date specialized therapeutic techniques learned in this certification course.
The techniques of therapy and healing that creates the core of this course is based on International Standards of Practice for Complete Decongestive Therapy and Wound Care Management.
Lymphoedema is classified as primary or secondary. Primary lymphedema is the result of lymphatic dysplasia. It may be present at birth or develops later in life without obvious cause. Secondary lymphoedema is much more common and is the result of surgery, removal of lymph nodes, radiation for cancer, trauma/, burns, infections, chronic venous insufficiency, pregnancy, open wounds or diabetic ulcers.
- In stage I, the swelling consists of protein-rich fluid and may become temporarily reduced by simple elevation of the limb.
- In stage II, it swelling remains untreated, it may cause a progressive hardening of the affected underlying tissues (fibrosis) and overall bulkiness in the affected area.
- In stage III, lymphoedema is characterized by a tremendous increase in size and volume of fluid, hardening of the area swollen, hyperkeratosis and papillomas of the skin. Infections such as cellulitis, erysipelas or lymphangitis frequently develop. Infections are common in stage II and III lymphoedema and each infection results in the swelling condition worsening and may require frequent hospitalizations. The most effective treatment for lymphoedema and oedema disorders is Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) and Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT).