Lymphoedema and Laser Treatment
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Lymphoedema Assessment and Treatment
Any person living with Lymphoedema knows that it is a painful, and at times debilitating and a life changing condition. Carrying an excessive amount of fluid in a limb, can affect mental health, normal movement and posture, and may lead to other health concerns if not treated.
The key to successful management is early screening, detection and treatment and for that we are here to help.
What is Lymphoedema?
Lymphoedema is a chronic progressive condition that results in swelling (oedema) in the tissues just beneath the skin. This swelling can occur in a limb, or other areas of the body including the breast, chest, head and neck, and genitals. Protein rich fluid builds up in the tissues when the lymph vessels or nodes are damaged or malformed.
When fluid congests in the tissues swelling occurs, this swelling is known as Lymphoedema.
If left untreated the tissue swelling can progressively increase over time. Lymphatic fluid congestion and other related conditions can interfere with wound healing, and increase the risk of infection.
Causes of Lymphoedema
Lymphoedema may occur after surgery and/or radiation therapy for the treatment of cancers including breast, melanoma, gynaecological or other cancer treatments. Damage to the lymphatic system may also occur due to infection or trauma.
Mixed lymphoedema – is a combination of another condition that may include but not limited to, venous disease, immobility (also known as dependant oedema), or lipoedema (a condition due to abnormal fat deposition).
Early signs and symptoms
• Feeling of heaviness, aching and stiffness in the effected body part
• Swelling of a limb or other region of the body after surgery
• Clothing, jewellery or shoes become tighter
These signs or symptoms can occur slowly over a long period of time or quickly.
Lymphoedema Management can include:
When compression garments are prescribed by your trained Lymphoedema Therapist the garments are specifically tailored to the person, to control lymphoedema, and to ensure the garment is comfortable and safe to wear.
The aim of compression bandaging is to reduce severe swelling of the affected area prior to the fitting of the compression garment, or if the skin is fragile or damaged. These bandages must be applied by a qualified Lymphoedema Practitioner, and should be checked and replaced at regular intervals. Compression bandaging and products and may also be used to reduce fibrous tissue and in the reduction stage of lymphoedema.
Care for you skin by monitoring, keeping clean and moisturising daily. By Caring for your skin, you can improve skin condition and reduce the risk of infection.
It is very important for people with Lymphoedema to maintain a healthy body weight and maintain physical fitness. The best type of exercise will depend on the individuals co- existing medical conditions and the cause of Lymphoedema.
Remedial exercise is prescribed exercise for the management and treatment of Lymphoedema.
Manual Lymphatic drainage
This is a specific type of massage to assist in moving lymph fluid. A general manual lymphatic drainage massage may differ from a manual lymphatic drainage treatment for a person with Lymphoedema. Therefore it is important to see a qualified Lymphoedema Practitioner if you have Lymphoedema.
Low level Laser or PBM uses light energy (photons) to targets the cells to promote tissue healing and to reduce pain. PBM therapy rarely any side effects as the laser doesn’t produce heat nor penetrate as deeply as other surgical or medical lasers.
LLLT or PMB can be used for the treatment of:
- Scar tissue
- Radiation scars
- Cording (axillary Web syndrome)
- Soft tissue injuries and or pain
Healthy habits to help reduce the risk of Lymphoedema
• Maintain a healthy weight range through healthy diet and exercise
• Care for your skin
• Prevent infection by cleaning and dressing cuts and wounds
• Make an appointment with a Certified Lymphoedema Therapist for Lymphoedema screening, assessment and education
• If you develop signs or symptoms of infection, seek your Medical attention as soon as possible.
Testing for Lymphoedema with SOZO®
SOZO® is a (Bioimpedance spectroscopy) BIS sends a low-level electrical signal through the body, that measures the amount of fluid in the at-risk limb being tested. The test provides a score, and is able to detect even tiny fluid changes. When a base line score is taken, your Lymphoedema Therapist is then able to compare subsequent scores to compare with the baseline, allowing the Therapist to monitor for changes, early onset of Lymphoedema, or to monitor during treatment.
SOZO® is able to measure the following:
Cording (axillary web syndrome)
Cording isn’t known to be serious but can cause pain and restrict range of movement. Cording can occur after breast surgery, and usually develops weeks or months after the surgery. The appearance of tight cord- like strands usually start on the armpit, although can appear in the arm, or torso. The number of cord-like strands can vary from one to many. Some treatments may include laser therapy (PBM), manual therapy, and prescribed specific exercises to reduce these symptoms and improve movement.
Remember early detection is the key to successful management and treatment. If you would like to discuss further or have any concern’s please contact us. We are here to help you.
Laser or Photobiomodulation Treatment
DO YOU NEED HELP WITH HEALING PERSISTENT WOUNDS, FOR SWELLING OR DIABETIC ULCERS?
The use of laser/PBM is well established in the management of soft tissue injuries, painful backs and necks, wounds and the treatment of lymphoedema. Use of a medical grade laser assists treatment of lymphoedema of the chest, breast, armpit, arm and lower limbs.
Laser/PBM is also extremely beneficial when treating cording, also known as axillary web syndrome which commonly occurs following breast cancer surgery. Other uses of laser includes treatment of diabetic ulcers and slow or poor wound healing.
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