Rebecca Hammad, an OTR and certified lymphedema therapist, started a lymphedema program at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA, to offer complete decongestive therapy (CDT) interventions to individuals experiencing acute and chronic edema after injury or illness. She used her training to modify the traditional approach to CDT to manage swelling after paralysis, reducing the risk of applying compression to a limb with absent sensation.
Rebecca’s lymphedema program involves all four components of CDT, with specific modifications to the compression techniques.
- Skin care:Therapists focus on keeping the skin intact, which guards against infection.
- Manual lymphatic drainage:Therapists apply a light-touch technique that is performed at the surface level of the skin to help stimulate the lymphatic system and promote the flow of fluid.
- Compression therapy:A multi-layered bandaging technique is used to reduce limb volume and reverse trophic changes. Modifications to the number of layers, types of padding, and pattern of wrapping are unique to Rebecca’s approach.
- Specialized exercise program: Exercises are incorporated into what patients are already doing in therapy to promote lymphatic motility.