Following lymph node surgery for metastsized malignant melanoma, I developed moderate lymphedma in my left arm and underarm/chest. After educational therapy, I am able to control the fluid build-up with wrapping, compression sleeves, ect.. Is there any new ideas on how to control or even eliminate the lymphedema?
It's great that you are controlling the lymphedema with the information and techniques that you were instructed in. To review the "gold standard" technique that is being performed at this time at UTMDACC in Physical Therapy and supported by the National Lymphedema Network is the use of manual lymphatic massage, compression therapy (either by compression bandages or night time garments), use of a compression sleeve/ glove/bra during the day,performing both a specific lymphedema exercises to decongest the area and performing an aerobic/strengthening/ flexibility program, and skin care education in those activities that may aggravate or trigger the development of the lymphedema.
In addition to the above program Physical Therapyhas also added kinesiotaping to the Lymphedema Program when it is appropriate. Kinesiotaping has been used effectively in the reduction and maintenance portions of our program enabling lymph fluid to bemobilized out of a congested area quicker.
In the last several months at UTMDACC we have also been able to offer a new service that is being provided through the Plastic Surgery Department. We have referred patients that might be benefitted by the procedure called lymphaticovenular pass that is being performed on patients that have been deemed appropriate for the procedure by Dr David W Chang (Plastic Surgeon).