National Lymphedema Network
David Doubblestein, PT, PhD (ABD), OCS, CLT, Cert. MDT, LLCC became a certified Lymphedema Therapist in 2001 through the Chikly Health Institute and a second certification in 2013 through the Academy of Lymphatic Studies.
Lymphedema is a chronic disorder evidenced by an abnormal accumulation of protein-rich lymph fluid in the tissues of a body part. Lymphedema may occur when lymphatic vessels or nodes are missing, damaged, congested, impaired, or removed. Untreated, lymphedema can exacerbate the congestion and increase the swelling. It may also lead to lymphangitis, may provoke tissue fibrosis, or in rare cases may result in lymphangiosarcoma.
Primary Lymphedema is a type of lymphedema caused by a condition that is congenital or hereditary. Usually, hypoplasia of the lymphatic system is the contributing factor. Common terms used in association with primary lymphedema may include but are not limited to praecox, Tardum, congenital, Milroy’s disease, or Meige’s Syndrome.
Secondary Lymphedema is a type of lymphedema resulting from some known damage to the lymphatic system which in turn is unable to manage the protein-rich fluid. Causes may include surgery, radiation, various traumas, tumor growth, infections, cellulitis, or chronic venous insufficiency.
Diagnosis of Lymphedema is made by a physician through clinical examination. Specialized tests may also be indicated and include Lymphangiography, Fluorescent Microlymphography, Lymphoscintigraphy, or MRI.
Treatment of Lymphedema in North America has been present since the 1980’s. Early intervention is a key to successful outcomes and in preventing complications. As evidenced by research, the treatment of choice today is Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy (CDP).
Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy (CDP): Proven safe and effective for over sixty years in Europe and Australia, Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy is a two phase program requiring the skills of a specially trained and certified clinician and the meticulous adherence of the patient to the program. Phase components include.
Phase 1 = Treatment
Skin Care, Exercise, Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Manual Lymphatic Mapping, Lymphedema Compression Bandaging, Compression Garment, Patient Education
Phase 2 = Self - Management
Skin Care, Exercise, Self Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Lymphedema Compression Bandaging, Compression Garment,