Compression

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Frequently Asked Questions

By Janet Wolfson, PT, CLWT, CWS, CLT-LANA

Reflecting back on "In the Trenches With Lymphedema," WoundSource's June Practice Accelerator webinar, many people sent in questions. I have addressed some regarding compression use here.

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Lymphedema

By the WoundSource Editorsr

Lymphedema is defined as “an accumulation of lymph fluid in the soft tissues, most frequently in the arms or legs.” It impacts approximately one in every six patients in the United States who are undergoing solid tumor treatment. Lymphedema has become more prevalent with the increase in survival rates resulting from the emergence of more effective oncologic therapies; however, there remains no definitive cure for lymphedema.

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Lymphedema

By the WoundSource Editors

As health care professionals, we see patients with lymphedema every day. However, do we know how to manage lymphedema? Are we confident in successful management of lymphedema? The answer, many times, is no. The lymphatic system goes hand in hand with the integumentary and vascular systems. Certified Lymphedema Specialists play a critical role in lymphedema and wound care expertise, but providers must also learn to approach the complexity of lymphedema with or without wounds with foundational knowledge and skills to provide the best outcome. Underlying medical conditions must also be properly managed. Hospitals, wound care clinics, and private practices should develop a comprehensive lymphedema management program.

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Compression

By the WoundSource Editors

Lymphedema is edema—swelling of tissues caused by fluid in the intracellular space—that is caused by dysfunction or disruption of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system uses lymphatic vessels to absorb, transfer, and filter fluids from peripheral intracellular spaces and return these fluids to general circulation. When there is an obstruction or a structural change to the lymphatic system, typically experienced in response to surgical or neoplastic changes, the transfer of extracellular fluids from the periphery is inhibited, resulting in localized edema distal to the site of the structural deficiency.

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Lymphatic System

By the WoundSource Editors

The lymphatic system is an incredibly complex network of tissues and organs. Together, this network regulates fluid balance, transports fatty acids from the gastrointestinal tract, and contributes to the immune system. Dysfunction in the lymphatic system can lead to lymphedema and tumor development. Although it is common to treat wounds and lymphatic dysfunction as separate conditions, there can be many benefits in viewing these conditions as interrelated.

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By the WoundSource Editors

Cellulitis: A common bacterial skin infection that appears as a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot and tender; also known as lymphangitis. Treatment should begin promptly to avoid having the infection spread rapidly and become life-threatening.

Complete decongestive therapy (CDT): The system of lymphedema treatment that includes manual lymph drainage (MLD), compression techniques, decongestive exercise, and self-care training.

Congenital lymphedema: A form of primary lymphedema that is present from birth; also known as Milroy's disease or Nonne-Milroy disease.

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Edema

By the WoundSource Editors

Edema is swelling that occurs when there is an excessive amount of fluids within the intracellular space, typically within subcutaneous tissues. Edema is more commonly experienced in the lower extremities and other areas that are farther from the heart. Edema may be dependent, caused by gravitational forces on the fluids that are greater than the mechanisms designed to overcome these forces. Edema may also be generalized throughout the entire body or localized, restricted to a single area.

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kidney failure-related edema

By Janet Wolfson PT, CLWT, CWS, CLT-LANA

Acute care wound or edema professionals are bombarded with multiple kinds of edema that can be treated in many ways—and with many choices of compression garments. What to choose?

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wound care journal club

ByTemple University School of Podiatric Medicine Journal Review Club

Editor's note: This post is part of the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine (TUSPM) journal review club blog series. In each blog post, a TUSPM student will review a journal article relevant to wound management and related topics and provide their evaluation of the clinical research therein.

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