Lymphedema is a painful condition in which your arm or legs, or sometimes both, swell. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as part of cancer treatment. It is a result of a blockage in your lymphatic system, which is a part of your immune system. A blockage like this will prevent lymph fluid from draining, leading to buildups and swelling.”
One treatment option for those who are suffering from lymphedema is using a pump. The goal of the pump is to move excess fluid out of the affected limbs and return it to the cardiovascular system. Sometimes you can use the pump at home with the proper training, however it’s more commonly used at treatment facilities as part of a professional service. No matter what the treatment setting, there are two phases of pump treatment.
The Preparatory Phase
The first phase of treatment, which must be performed first, is Manual Lymph Drainage. This prepares the lymphatic vessels to receive the fluid that will be moved by the drainage due to the pumping. If this process and part of treatment is no completed properly, the lymphatic system will not be adequately prepared to receive and transport the lymph that is moved by the pump. If this happens, the lymph is forced into surrounding areas, and can cause further damage.
The Drainage Phase
In this phase, the pump settings are adjusted to the appropriate pressure level before the device is donned. The pump is then activated for the appropriate period of time while the patient rests comfortably in the recommended position, depending on what part of the body is being pumped. The movement of the pump stimulates the flow of the excess lymph out of the affected limb as if it were following the movements of the muscles. When the lymphatic system has been properly prepared, the fluid will flow into the lymphatic vessels and eventually be returned to the bloodstream.
Here at Pink Ribbons Memphis, we know how it feels to not feel like yourself, so we strive to assist each woman who comes through our doors to regain or maintain her self-esteem. If you have further questions about lymphedema or lymphedema pumps, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 901-820-9144, or visit our website.