Lymphedema and its Impact on Quality of Life « Lymphedema Blog
Tweet Chronic lymphedema is considered a progressive condition, regardless of its classification primary or secondary, and cannot be simply described as a buildup of high protein fluid. It is a chronic, degenerative and inflammatory process affecting the soft tissues, skin, lymphatics and ganglia of the extremities, trunk, abdomen, head and neck, and external genitalia. Lymphedema […]

Chronic lymphedema is considered a progressive condition, regardless of its classification primary or secondary, and cannot be simply described as a buildup of high protein fluid. It is a chronic, degenerative and inflammatory process affecting the soft tissues, skin, lymphatics and ganglia of the extremities, trunk, abdomen, head and neck, and external genitalia. Lymphedema can develop at any time during life in primary cases, in secondary cases it can occur immediately after the surgical procedure or trauma, within months, years, or twenty years or more after treatment , and can cause severe and often debilitating swelling.

Chronic lymphedema also has a significant impact on health-related quality of life (QoL) and the psychological well-being of patients around the world affected by this disease has been known and confirmed by research for some time. 1,2,3,11.

The highest incidence of secondary lymphedema in the United States is seen after surgery and radiation therapy for malignant tumors, especially in people with breast cancer, which is likely why the majority of research on the impact of lymphedema on quality of life were carried out on breast cancer survivors followed by lymphedema (breast cancer-related lymphedema /BCRL). The results of this research clearly indicate that health-related quality of life was significantly lower in breast cancer survivors with diagnosed lymphedema or with arm symptoms without diagnosed lymphedema, compared to survivors without lymphedema or symptoms of arms4.

Any woman treated for breast cancer is at risk of developing lymphedema during or after the surgery / radiation / chemotherapy treatment needed to eradicate the tumor. The impact of these procedures on the sufficiency of the lymphatic system can lead to the appearance of more or less lymphatic swelling in almost one in two women. However, the literature also shows that the quality of life of people with primary lymphedema and other forms of secondary lymphedema is also negatively affected by this chronic disease. In fact, several studies indicate that patients with chronic lower extremity edema reported a higher impact on quality of life than individuals with upper extremity lymphedema. 5 6.7. It is also important to point out that the negative effects on the quality of life of lymphedema in many cases extend to the families of people living with and facing chronic edema. 8.9.

As soon as, and sometimes before, the swelling manifests itself, the patient is faced with cosmetic problems (skin changes, increase in the size of the extremities, ill-fitting clothing), functional problems (pain, stiffness, numbness, functional limitations, limitations range of motion) in the affected extremity, compromised normal activities of daily living and work responsibilities), psychological problems (negative self-identity, emotional disturbances, stress, negative impact on family life, social isolation, perceived reduced sexuality), as well as the financial impact. When some patients realize that lymphedema is a chronic disease requiring lifelong management, these problems may intensify and patients find that dealing with the swelling is more demanding than treating the disease that caused the lymphedema. in the first place.

In order to effectively combat not only the swelling but also the negative impact of lymphedema on psychological well-being, early diagnosis, evaluation and multidisciplinary treatment strategies coordinated by certified lymphedema therapists and healthcare professionals skilled health are imperative.

By definition, the goal of any treatment is to improve the patient's state of health; addressing the consequences for the patient's quality of life has an important role to play alongside the goal of reducing limb volume.

Studies indicate that quality of life improves with reduction in limb sizeten; early diagnosis and subsequent effective therapeutic intervention for lymphedema are therefore crucial for the results of the treatment. However, effective management of lymphedema should not only include comprehensive treatment measures by skilled health care providers to reduce swelling, combined with patient education about self-care measures; it should also address the consequences of the disease on quality of life and improve health-related quality of life and psychological well-being by assessing psychological and psychosocial criteria and educating the patient on social support groups and the interactive support.

In addition to treating lymphedema treatment, the lymphedema therapist plays an important role in educating the patient regarding treatment measures and self-care techniques (auto-MLD, self-bandage, skin and nail care, etc). Often, patients find it difficult to accept the need to apply bulky padded compression bandages to the affected extremity during intensive phase (phase 1) of complete decongestive therapy; Compression bandages are needed to treat the fluctuating volume of lymphedema during this intensive phase, during which the patient is ideally treated daily. In order to reduce anxiety and improve patient compliance, it is essential for the patient to know that the need for compression bandages is only temporary. Once the swollen body part has been decongested and the patient proceeds to phase 2 of TDC (self-management phase), the bandages will be replaced with tight-fitting compression garments.

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  1. Fu M, Ridner SH, Hu SH, Cormier JC, Armer JM. Psychosocial impact of lymphedema: a systematic review of the literature (2004-2011). Psycho-Oncology 2013; 22 (7): 1466-1484
  2. McWayne J, Heiney SP. Psychological and social sequelae of secondary lymphedema: a review.
    Cancer 2005; 104 (3): 457–466
  3. Ridner SH et al. Self-management of lymphedema associated with breast cancer treatment; education, practice symptoms and quality of life. Suppoort Care Cancer, 2011; 19 (5): 631-637
  4. R.Ahmed et al. Lymphedema and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors: The Iowa Women's Health Study. J Clin Oncol. December 10, 2008; 26 (35): 5689-5696. Published online November 10, 2008 doi: 10.1200 / JCO.2008.16.4731
  5. Greene A, Meskell P. The impact of chronic lower extremity edema on the quality of life of patients. Int Wound J 2017; 14: 561-568.
  6. CJ Moffatt, Aubeeluck A, Franks PJ, Doherty D, Mortimer P, Quere I. Psychological factors in chronic edema: a case-control study. Lymphat Res Biol 2017; 15: 252-260.
  7. Moffatt CJ, Doherty DC, Franks PJ, Mortimer PS. Community-based treatment of chronic edema: an effective service model. Lymphat Res Biol 2018; 16: 92–99.
  8. Radina ME, Armer JM. Post-breast cancer lymphedema and the family: A qualitative survey of families struggling with chronic disease. J Fam Nurs 2001; 7 (3): 281-299.
  9. Radina ME, Armer JM. Surviving Breast Cancer and Living with Lymphedema: Resilience in Women in the Context of Their Family. J Fam Nurs 2004; 10 (4): 485–505
  10. Mirolo BR, Bunce IH, Chapman M, et al: Psychosocial benefits of postmastectomy lymphedema therapy. Cancer Nurs 18: 197-205, 1995
  11. Zuther, J, Norton, S. Management of lymphedema: the complete guide for practitioners. 4th ed. New York: Thieme; 2018.

If there is one thing that confuses personnes after they’ve had body contouring, it’s whether or not ( and how ! ) to wear a compression garment. This article will answer all your questions about wearing compression garments. We gathered the most common questions from patients across the globe to create the most comprehensive guide you will find anywhere online. In this article, you will learn about the benefits of compression, how to wear one properly, and even some tips for hiding your post-op garment under clothes.

Compression garment are an important part of postoperative care. Wearing a compression garment can make an effet on your surgical results, speeding recovery and helping to shape your new contours. They speed the healing process, which means you can get back to living your life sooner after surgery.

Wearing a compression garment takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation when it comes to your results. They help stabilize and shape your body’s new contours so they heal as your surgeon intended. Patients who wear compression garments may experience less pain compared to those who do not wear them.

So, what do compression garments do exactly ? The idea is to help close the space that is created within the abdomen as a part of body contouring surgery. When a patient undergoes a tummy tuck, the flap of skin is elevated off the abdominal wall, leaving a space. The same thing occurs with body lift procedures, which also create a gap between skin and tissue. Liposuction, too, results in a void where the fat used to be.

When skin and force are elevated, you want them to heal in the convenable position. One goal of compression garments is to encourage tissue to re-adhere to your abdominal wall by closing the space with gentle, constant pressure. Compression may help tissues re-adhere exactly as intended by keeping everything in its proper place.

Reduced swelling : If you are wondering how to reduce swelling after a contouring procedure, a compression garment will do just that. It helps restrict the edema that occurs after surgery by applying firm pressure to the area.

Lower risk of bruising and bleeding : Wear post-op garments are shown to reduce hematoma and decrease the chance of postoperative bleeding.

Speeds the healing process : Patients who wear compression garments after body contouring surgery may be able to return to their normal daily activities sooner than those who do not. They can improve oxygen levels in soft tissue, allowing faster tissue repair. 1 Some brands like Lipo-elastic even have perforated material that nuances only some parts of the skin to increase blood circulation. Increased circulation promotes faster recovery.


Potentially reduced risk of keloid scarring : Keloids can form when excess scar tissue grows over a healed wound. Compression therapy is the first line of defense against keloids since they can soften and break up keloid scar modules de formation

Reduced contamination risk : Like a Band-Aid, a compression garment can shield your skin from outside germs like a barrier. It protects the wound while you heal.

Less pain

Patients typically wear a compression garment for 4-6 weeks following larger body contouring procedures on average. For minor procedures, two weeks may be enough. The length of time you will need to wear a post-surgery garment may vary based on your surgeon’s protocol. It can depend on the amount of skin and/or fat removed, how much large skin remains, your skin elasticity and other factors.

If you find wearing a post-surgical garment uncomfortable, it is worth mentioning it to your surgeon. They may be able to make adjustments or advise you on how to make things feel a bit more comfortable as your recover.

After surgery, many surgeons recommend wearing the garment day and night for the first 1-3 weeks, except to shower. Of course, this can vary depending on the juste procedure and extent of surgery. During the second période of recovery ( usually weeks 3-6 ), you may only need to wear the garment during the daytime. Some surgeons recommend wearing it around the clock, even in recovery période two, if you can tolerate it. Again, this boils down to your surgeon’s aftercare protocol.

This is a tricky question. Some surgeons use the words interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same thing. Both are post-surgical devices that apply gentle pressure to promote healing and reduce swelling.


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