The Adelaide Lymphoedema Clinic was established in 1987 by Michael Mason, who is a member of the International Society of Lymphology (ISL) and a past president of the Australasian Lymphology Association (ALA).
He was the first physiotherapist in Australia to treat lymphoedema patients with Complex Physical Therapy (CPT) and has regularly run training courses for allied health professionals on the treatment and management of lymphoedema in Adelaide and Sydney.
The treatment is not a cure for lymphoedema. There is no known cure. Treatment is designed to reduce the swelling, improve the lymphatic drainage and increase the mobility of the limbs, thereby relieving the pain, aching, heaviness, tightness and discomfort and improving the patient's well-being and ability to lead a normal life.
The treatment also includes education of the patient about the nature of the condition and how best to live with the problem.
After Treatment Services
At the completion of the treatment, patients are fitted with a compression garment in the form of a sleeve/glove or stocking to maintain the improvement gained from the treatment and control the oedema.
The amount of improvement gained from the treatment varies, depending on a number of factors such as whether the lymphoedema is primary or secondary, the length of time it has been present, whether the oedema is soft or hard and the age of the patient. To date, the average reduction in oedema is in excess of 70% for both arms and legs.
"Lymphoedema occurs when a reduced lymphatic transport capacity is overwhelmed by a normal lymphatic load resulting in the stagnation of protein rich fluid in the interstitial tissues".
The lymphatic transport capacity refers to the ability of the lymphatic vessels in a particular area of the body to transport lymph to the draining lymph nodes.
This transport capacity can be reduced when, for example in secondary lymphoedema, lymph nodes are surgically removed in the treatment of cancer, or when a person is born with a reduced number of lymphatic vessels, as in primary lymphoedema.
- Assessment of, and an intensive treatment programme for, patients with primary and secondary lymphoedema or venous oedema. This includes advice on how each individual patient can adapt their lifestyle to cope with these potentially disabling conditions.
- Assessment of, and advice to, people who do not have lymphoedema, but are at risk of developing the condition.
- Supply and fitting of stock size and made-to-measure compression garments for lymphoedema and venous oedema patients and for travellers to assist in decreasing the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).