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The Basics of Lymphedema and Lymphedema Pumps

Posted on: January 23rd, 2013 in Lymphedema by MDSBlogger |

Lymphedema is when a lymph channel becomes blocked and fluid is unable to pass along the lymph vessel, causing swelling and fluid build-up in the arms or legs.  In most cases, Lymphedema develops after surgery or radiation treatment for various cancers, but can develop after trauma, deep vein thrombosis or for no obvious reason at all.

When lymph fluid pools in a part of the lymphatic system (in green), most often in the arms or legs, tenderness and swelling can develop.

To treat Lymphedema, most medical professionals recommend elevation, physical therapy and regular use of a Lymphedema Pump, which we carry at the Medical Department Store.  The Lymphedema Pump is an air-filled device that fits over your arm or leg and massages along the lymphatic vessel, pushing fluid through the lymphatics.  This type of treatment can be done at home with proper training.

There are two main phases to the treatment with a Lymphedema Pump.  The first phase is the preparatory phase in which the patient or therapist must prepare the limbs by stimulating the lymphatic vessels through massage.  Without this phase, the patient risks additional damage to the tissue.

The second phase is the drainage phase.  During this phase, the Lymphedema Pump moves excess lymph fluid out of the swollen area and back into the bloodstream.  After using the Lymphedema Pump, the patient will need to massage the affected area and then put on the proper compression garment for either active time or rest time.  This compression garments prevents the fluid from returning to the swollen limb.

Medical Department Store carries a variety of Lymphedema Pumps or pneumatic compression devices that stimulate circulation to treat primary or secondary Lymphedema.  If you are suffering from Lymphedema, give us a call and a member of our experienced staff will walk you through our treatment options.

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