Something went wrong.

We've been notified of this error.

Need help? Check out our Help Centre.

Lymphedema Therapy  

Combined Decongestive Therapy for Lymphedema

What is CDT?

CDT, or Combined Decongestive Therapy is the gold standard for treating lymphedema. It includes manual lymphatic drainage, bandaging, exercises and skin care.

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a chronic swelling of arm(s), leg(s), abdomen, face or neck caused by the disruption of normal lymph flow in vessels. The problem can be genetic (primary lymphedema) or caused by surgery, lymph nodes removal or after cancer treatment. Lymphedema is usually diagnosed by your doctor when all vascular and cardiac issues have been ruled out.

Is CDT a cure or temporary fix?

CDT is the first and essential step for your lymphedema management. Once the swelling is under control, after the intensive phase of treatment, you may not need CDT anymore as you use compression garments to keep the swelling from coming back. Post-surgery swelling only require a few treatments to remove excessive fluid buildup and allow a faster recovery.

How does a CDT treatment work?

Your first CDT appointment is an assessment. You will be asked questions about the swelling to make sure CDT is the best therapy for you. Then, the affected body part is measured. Once the therapy goals and expectations are established, you receive the treatment: Manual Lymphatic Drainage to start, (gentle massage-like treatment), skin care if needed and then the application of bandages. To end the session, you will be given a couple of exercises to perform daily. Following sessions are treatment only.

During the intensive phase, 4 to 5 treatments/week are recommended. This frequency ensures that the swelling is actively decreased and you can, within a couple of weeks, get the affected body part back to a normal size.

Is it painful?

CDT is not painful. The bandages can be uncomfortable at times, but should never create pain. If you have a latex allergy, make sure to tell your therapist as they will have to order special bandages for you!

What happens next?

Once the swelling is reduced to a minimum, you are ready for the next phase: your compression garment. Garments are available at the local pharmacy (socks) or through a specialized fitter (gloves, sleeves, abdominal garments) and require a doctor’s prescription. Your therapist will help you with this process.

Using Format