Frequently asked questions around Lymphoedema and treatment plans
My doctor says I have lymphoedema and need compression stockings. Is this the only treatment?
No, this is not the only option. Please read ‘How to treat lymphoedema’ for other options.
I have a weeping wound on my lymphoedematous leg. What should I do?
Please consult your doctor immediately. You may require medication and special dressings. It would be helpful to consult a lymphoedema therapist (Find a therapist) and a wound-care specialist to manage the condition in the long term.
I have stage 4 cancer and a massive swollen leg after palliative therapy. Is there any solution, even short-term, to alleviate the discomfort?
Please consult your doctor and palliative care nurse who can advise you on effective pain management. A lymphoedema therapist (Find a therapist) can also assess you to manage/relieve your specific symptoms.
I have had mastectomy and the doctor warned me that my arm might become lymphoedematous. Is there nothing I can do to prevent this from happening?
Yes you can!!! Go to Risk factors and precautions.
I have an issue with a medical aid payment. Who do I approach and how?
Please talk to your therapist and consult with your medical aid directly who can advise you further.
Will I be able to drive while in therapy?
Whether it is your arm or your legs that are bandaged it is up to your discretion if you feel comfortable and safe to drive while being bandaged. Make sure to wear shoes that fit you and are secured well and not falling off.
Can I shower while I am in therapy?
Of course you can still take a shower or bath while you are coming for therapy and being bandaged, however, you will need to keep the bandages dry! You can purchase a device-cast protector which will cover your bandages well and keep you dry while you shower or bathe. Some people choose to sponge bathe while in treatment.
Will the CDT therapy hurt?
Most people have NO pain while going through CDT treatment. MLD therapy is a very light touch and a very relaxing treatment. The bandaging does NOT hurt; however, when first applied they will and should feel snug. After doing the required exercises the bandages stretch out and you will be more comfortable. Therefore, it is crucial that you do your exercises daily, especially right after you have been bandaged. Also, it is crucial that you drink plenty of water and limit your sodium intake to 2000 mgs per day.
Will I be cured of my swelling after I do this therapy?
With the education you receive you will be well informed about your swelling condition. There is NO CURE, but your swelling will be reduced and you will be taught what you need to do for yourself at home to keep the swelling under control. With proper education and maintenance you will keep the swelling down long term and be healthier in the long run!
Is Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) different than regular massage?
MLD is very different from regular massage because it is not deep or heavy pressure but a very light skin touch technique. MLD is a very slow, light and rhythmic stretching of the skin in circular movements with a stretching and relaxation phase.
Do I have to have treatment every day?
Depending on the severity of the Lymphoedema condition, some people do require daily treatment; however, once progress is made in treatment, then the frequency is reduced until goals are met. Every person’s situation varies.
Can I have other therapy at the same time?
MLD/CDT should not interfere with any other therapies. Be sure to check with your medical aid to make sure they will cover more than one therapy at a time.
Will I be able to put the compression garments on?
You will be able to apply your compression garments independently once your swelling has been reduced. Your therapist will educate you and provide you with the proper techniques and devices to help you apply your garments independently.