Last Updated - 17 November, 2004



Arm oedema / Leg oedema / Head oedema
"Primary Lympoedema" is when an oedema (swelling) develops at any age for a number of reasons.

MLD and CDT is mainly recognised for treating lymphoedema.  The word oedema means "swelling" and so lymphoedema means there is a swelling due to congestion of the lymphatic pathways.

For example, a breast cancer patient may experience swelling on the affected side following a lumpectomy or mastectomy and removal of some lymph nodes. This may subside without treatment but in some cases the swelling remains or may even occur years later after surgery. This is known as secondary lymphoedema. It may also occur after a hysterectomy, cervical or prostate cancer but can still be helped by this treatment.

It should be stressed that not everyone develops lymphoedema, and certainly the patient who complies with the instructions given by the hospital after surgery is greatly reducing the chances of developing this problem. Unfortunately, there is no cure for lymphoedema but MLD will maintain healthy tissue and most certainly reduce the amount of fluid in the affected area.

Oedema of the head develops after the complete removal of the cervical lymph nodes for example after cancer of the larynx with intense radiotherapy. The therapist will drain the excess fluid using MLD over the skin that has not been damaged by radiotherapy to the auxillary lymph nodes which are located under the arm. Drainage is also included in other areas of the upper body.
As a result of MLD visible oedema in the head decreases, and the patient's general well being and intellectual capacity improves.