Post-surgery lymphoedema

Clinical experience

The massaging effect and therapeutic benefits of Lymph O Fit™ products are appreciated by patients and physicians alike. “After women had been wearing the product for a short time, they felt a reduction in local pain. The existing lymphoedema areas were decreased”, said Dr. Sylvia Mück, Chief of Gynaecology/Oncology at Sigel Clinic in Bad Schönborn, summarising her experience.

Without treatment, a lymphoedema will not disappear but constantly get worse. In those cases, therapy and products for lymphatic relief are a permanent recommendation or even requirement. Lymph O Fit™ products support a rapid regression of post-surgery oedema and a better manageability of chronic lymphatic drainage problems.*

The development phases of lymphoedema are divided into different clinical stages:

  • Phase 0 (latency phase) - the functions of the lymphatic system have been disturbed but can       still be balanced
  • Phase I (reversible phase) - excessive demand on the lymphatic system, swelling of the                affected tissue, the tissue is still soft at this point. Elevation of the limb will only offer short            term relief.
  • Phase II (irreversible phase) - formation of excessive connective tissue, tissue is beginning to        harden. Elevation of the limb offers no improvement, a complex oedema decongestion is              required.
  • Phase III (elephantiasis) - extreme swelling, skin is hardened, tissue proliferations occur.

Treatment and prevention of lymphoedema

A lymphoedema that remains untreated in its initial stages will result in the affected body swelling more and more, causing the tissue to change. The earlier treatment begins, the better.

See a doctor immediately if you have any symptoms. Lymphatic drainage will be combined with compression treatment using appropriate bandages and compression garments. Doctors, therapists and health care supply stores work together closely on this issue.

Post-operative lymphoedema - prevention and treatment

Injuries to the lymphatic system can lead to lasting damage and, as a consequence, to lymphoedema. Lymph O Fit™ by Anita is a treatment option for various indications.

In cases of lymphoedema, the flow of lymph through the lymphatic system has been disrupted. Liquid collects in the inter-cellular spaces and leads to visible swelling that is also noticeable by touch. Causes can be injuries such as contusion or surgical procedures.

One of the most common causes is a tumour in the breast area and its treatment. During cancer treatment, lymph nodes often have to be removed. This and severing lymphatic vessels during surgery can significantly or even completely obstruct lymph drainage paths. Radiation therapy, too, has a negative effect on lymphatic vessels.

About 20 to 30% of breast cancer patients are affected by secondary lymphoedema. The first symptoms, such as heaviness, a feeling of tension and swelling, often appear weeks or months after cancer surgery. Sometimes, they don’t manifest for years. 

The severity of a lymphoedema depends on

  • the number of axillary lymph nodes removed
  • the radical nature of the surgery
  • post-operative scar formation
  • the type and extent of radiation therapy and the resulting fibrotic changes
  • the extent of the tumour and of the impact on the lymph nodes

The following actions can help to prevent lymphoedema:

  • Under no circumstances should bra straps cut in.
  • Use bras with wide straps that don’t roll up, and with a soft and wide underbust band.
  • Avoid clothing that could constrict on the side of the surgery.
  • Do exercises that promote lymphatic drainage.
  • Rest and support your arm above the level of your heart from time to time. Prevent cuts and scratches.
  • Avoid carrying any weight on the side of your surgery - and that includes your handbag!
  • Blood pressure measurements, injections and blood samples should not be carried out on the surgery side.

Lymphatic relief with Lymph O Fit™

“Lymph O Fit™” is a special material for lymphatic relief. In particular, it is characterised by the dot structure on the inside. This texture has a massaging and draining effect on the subcutis and its smaller lymphatic vessels. This activates and improves lymphatic drainage and supports scar regression.

Good moisture wicking and breathability ensure pleasant comfort and conditions for the skin. The material is indicated for lymphatic disease treatments, as it applies gentle compression to lymph vessels and skin. It is used for the reduction of lymphoedema in the breast, for haematoma, fibrosis, after arm lifts, liposuction and transplants of lymph nodes, as well as for mild lymphoedema in the legs or groin.

A choice of several products is available:

  • Lymphatic relief bandage:

Indication: Lymph accumulation in the breast and thorax area
How it works: Supports the healing process using controlled compression. Following an amputation, a pad can also be integrated, if required.

  • Lymphatic relief arm sleeve or arm sleeves:

Indication: For mild lymphoedema in the arm, following a transplant of lymph nodes, arm lifts or liposuction and shoulder surgery as well as for prevention after all breast surgeries.
How it works: Gentle compression on the arm

  • Compression girdle:

Indication: For mild lymphoedema in the groin area. Long compression tights, suitable also for mild lymphoedema in the legs.
How it works: Gentle compression on the abdomen, thighs (and calves). The dot structure achieves a gentle massage and drainage effect of the dermis and smaller lymph vessels. Lymphatic drainage is activated and improved, while scar tissue regression is promoted.

*Excerpts from the medical journal GP* Gesundheitsprofi