The Author

Joachim Zuther, Lymphedema Specialist. Read more
Lohmann Rauscher

Tactile Medical

Updated NLN Position Paper on Diagnosis and Treatment of Lymphedema


The National Lymphedema Network (NLN) published the updated Position Paper on the “Diagnosis and Treatment of Lymphedema”.

This extensive re-written document covers all areas relevant in lymphedema management, to include diagnostic procedures.

Here is a summary:

Summary on Treatment and Diagnosis of Lymphedema

Treatment of lymphedema should be undertaken only after a thorough diagnostic evaluation has been done according to accepted guidelines by qualified practitioners. Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is the current international standard of care for managing lymphedema. CDT has been shown to be effective in large numbers of case studies demonstrating limb volume reductions of 50‐70% or more, improved appearance of the limb, reduced symptoms, improved quality of life, and fewer infections after treatment. Even people with progressive lymphedema for 30 years or more before starting CDT have been shown to respond. Patient adherence during Phase II CDT is critical for preserving volume reduction. It is recommended that CDT adaptations or other lymphedema treatments be used on a case‐by‐case basis under the supervision of a health‐care provider (physician, nurse, physician assistant, therapist) with demonstrated expertise in lymphedema management. Intermittend pneumatic compression (IPC) is a demonstrated effective adjunct to CDT. All interventions for lymphedema must have the goals of inducing and maintaining volume reduction, preventing medical complications, improving skin condition, reducing infection, enhancing patient adherence, and improving comfort and quality of life.

The complete document can be viewed here:

Do you need more information on other topics on lymphedema? Use the “Select Category” window on the right of this page and select the topic you are interested in. Once selected, a new page will load with a number of articles related to the topic you chose. Click on any headline of the articles and the entire article will load up for you to read.

Join Lymphedema Guru, a Facebook page solely dedicated to inform about all things related to lymphedema – news, support groups, treatment centers, and much more

10 comments to Updated NLN Position Paper on Diagnosis and Treatment of Lymphedema

  • Donna Cole

    Hi, I am a Lymphedema therapist in Long Island NY and am in the process of starting to work on my own. I was wondering if you knew any bandaging companies in my area to get the bandages from? also do are you aware of the proper billing codes for bandaging and treatment?
    Thank you
    Donna Cole OTR/L

    • Joachim Zuther

      Dear Donna: I suggest to contact the Academy of Lymphatic Studies at 1-800-863-5935 to order bandages. The Academy has great pricing and offers a complete assortment of lymphedema related products. They are also helpful with questions regarding billing.

  • Janis Lopes

    What role does nutrition play in treating lymphedema? I had a friend recently tell me that she was being treated by a nutritionist for her lymphedema and it reduced the swelling and she was not doing any wrapping. I have never heard this before. My lymphedema is in the lower extremities.

  • Rosaline Landsiedel

    Can you please tell me whether you know of anyone who has used the Ultracontour ultrasound to manage their lymphodema? If so, what results have they had?

  • Katie Oss

    I just saw an article about the Graston technique for soft tissue mobilization. The article describes a person using it for treatment of shoulder limitations in breast cancer patients and implied it was being used with lymphedema patients. Is any research being done on this technique to determine its safety and effectiveness at this time?

    • Joachim Zuther

      Dear Katie: This is an interdisciplinary technique for the treatment of muscle and tendon injuries. I was unable to find conclusive evidence on its effectiveness.

  • carol santos

    a friend just had MRM and axilla node dissection and will be flying (more than 12 hours of flight) 2 weeks from now. she wants to wear class I armsleeve to prevent lymphedema. what is available only (in our country right now) is class II armsleeves, Jobst brand. would you recommend that she wear the class II armsleeves or will that do more harm than good? by the way, she does not have lymphedema yet, just at risk for lymphedema due to the recent axilla node dissection.

    thank you.

    • Joachim Zuther

      While a compression class I sleeve would be more appropriate, she may also use a compression class II sleeve, or apply padded compression bandages during flight.