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Complete Decongestive Therapy for

Lymphedema Treatment


CDT is the most effective treatment for chronic extremity lymphedema. Primary lymphedema (congenital) and secondary lymphedema (due to a damaged lymphatic system) respond exceptionally well to this gentle, non-invasive, and highly-effective therapy. CDT is sometimes referred to as Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy.

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Previous CDT Intake in Dubai



Loay Karam

  • Diploma Degree and certified international instructor in Complex decongestion Therapy, University of Applied Science, Graz, Austria

  • Lymphedema consultant: Primephysio Clinics

  • Compression Category Manager L&R MEA

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Lymphoedema: A Chronic Disease


Lymphoedema is an independent, chronic disease of the skin, subcutaneous tissue and inner organs. A diseased lymph vessel system is unable to fulfill the task of volumetric regulation and homeostasis. Protein-rich fluid accumulates in the tissue and leads to changes in the basic substance, the cell population and an increased formation of fibers. Untreated lymphoedema will always progress. Lymphoedema may occur in all regions of the body, but it is the limbs that are most commonly affected. Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is embedded in a fully holistic concept and is recognized as today's basis for conservative lymphoedema treatment today. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a significant part of CDT, but it is primarily the practical combination of the further measures that makes CDT an effective, direct and comprehensive treatment of Lymphoedema.

Walking away from this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand and differentiate between lymphoedema, and oedema.

  • Identify treatment components of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) – Skin Care, Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD), Bandaging, and Exercise.

  • Introduction to manual lymphatic drainage techniques for upper and lower limbs according to Vodder’s Techniques.

  • Demonstrate basic multi-layer lymphoedema bandaging by creating an effective, graduated compression system for the arm and leg.

  • Demonstrate MLD and compression therapy for several case studies.

CDT consists of the following four components:


1- Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)


MLD is a very gentle manual treatment that improves the function of the lymphatic system throughout the body. In lymphedema therapy, MLD is used to re-route lymph flow around blocked areas and into healthy lymph vessels which drain into the venous circulation. MLD is also an effective treatment for post-surgical swelling, post-traumatic edema (as with sports injuries), other conditions involving edema.

2- Compression Therapy


Compression therapy increases tissue pressure and improves the efficiency of the muscle and joint pump. Multi-layered compression bandages are applied between MLD treatments to help prevent re-accumulation of evacuated fluid. Once the patient’s limb is sufficiently decongested through repeated treatments, it can fit with compression garments.

3- Exercises


Exercises are performed with compression bandages in place to activate the muscle and joint pumps of the affected extremity. This results in an increase in lymphatic system activity and further reduction of the swollen limb over time.

4- Skin Care


Skin care and general hygiene are essential to eliminate bacterial and fungal growth which can cause repeated attacks of cellulitis or erysipelas. Infections are very common complications of lymphedema so meticulous skin and nail care is a vital component of treatment.

Each participant will be trained in the four components of Complete Decongestive Therapy.