Decongestive Lymphatic Therapy (DLT) is a type of physical therapy that is used to treat lymphedema, a condition in which excess fluid builds up and causes swelling, particularly in the arms and legs. DLT is a two-part therapy that includes manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) and compression therapy.
Research has shown that DLT is effective in reducing swelling and improving quality of life for individuals with lymphedema. A study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery found that DLT led to a significant reduction in arm volume and an improvement in quality of life in individuals with postmastectomy lymphedema.
As DLT is a multi-modal approach it is used for several conditions like lymphedema, lipedema, post surgical swelling and post-traumatic swelling.
The number of sessions needed for Decongestive Lymphatic Therapy (DLT) varies depending on the individual case and the severity of the condition being treated. Typically, a course of DLT includes both manual lymphatic drainage massage and compression bandaging or garment fitting, as well as self-care education and exercises. A typical treatment may last 2-3 weeks, with 2 sessions a week for the first 3-3 weeks and then decreasing frequency as progress is made. Some patients may need additional treatment sessions to maintain improvement.