Everything you need to know about Lymphoedema & the SOZO Machine

What is the main cause of lymphoedema? 

Lymphoedema occurs when the lymphatic system isn’t working properly due to a variety of causes and fluid begins to leak into body tissue. 

This is most frequently caused by some form of trauma to the lymphatic system due to injury from serious cuts and bruises, sports, surgical procedures or cancer treatments (chemotherapy and radiotherapy). 


What is a SOZO machine? 

A sozo machine uses biospectrometry to assess even the smallest changes in your fluid levels, so we can best manage your condition.

It sends an electrical pulse through the body, measuring fluid levels and other medical measurements. This means we can keep track of fluid levels, particularly in lymphoedema patients. It can also be used pre and post cancer treatments to test if anything has changed within a body.

    lymphoedema SOZO machine

    Who can the SOZO machine help?

    The SOZO is a state of the art body composition tool used to monitor lymphoedema.

    Lymphoedema Everything You Need To Know

    What are the 3 stages of lymphoedema?

    There are many ways to stage lymphoedema in Australia though the most accurate is by using the International Society of Lymphology (ISL) guidelines. 

    Stage 0: Nil swelling (oedema) evident 

    Stage 1 (mild): Swelling that reduces when elevated. May have some pitting oedema.

    Stage 2 (moderate): Pitting oedema that is persistent and doesn’t reduce with elevation.

    Stage 3 (severe): Tissue hardening (fibrosis) coupled with skin changes. 


    What is the best way to get rid of lymphoedema? 

    There is currently no cure for lymphoedema; however, effective management strategies are available and can be implemented by collaborating closely with a medical and allied health team. 

    These professionals, specializing in various fields, work collectively to formulate and implement tailored approaches that aim to control and alleviate the impact of lymphoedema on an individual’s well-being. 


    Is Lymphoedema a serious condition? 

    Yes, it can be. Lymphoedema is a chronic condition that can often develop into a serious condition as it progresses. It is essential to recognize that lymphoedema has the potential to escalate into a severe state, leading to significant complications. 


    What are the causes of lymphoedema? 

    There are 2 categories used to describe causes of Lymphoedema; Primary and Secondary. 

    Primary Causes: which are attributed to congenital abnormality where a person’s lymph vessels haven’t formed as they typically should. 

    Secondary Causes: are when the condition develops as a result of a different condition, usually from a trauma that damages the lymphatic vessels. This includes vascular disease, infection, surgical procedures (such as lymph node removal), cancer or palliative care treatments.


    What are the different ways to manage lymphoedema? 

    Early intervention and a proactive approach to managing lymphoedema is essential for preventing complications. A combination of medical treatments, physical therapies and lifestyle adjustments are used to create a management plan that is tailored to each person. The goal being to alleviate symptoms but also to prevent their condition worsening and improve overall well being of those with lymphoedema.


    Lymphoedema management options include:

    Exercise: Exercise under the direction of a physiotherapist can help strengthen muscles, maintain flexibility and facilitate fluid drainage. 

    Compression Wear and bandages: These help to move fluid out of the affected limb tissues and prevent further accumulation of fluid due to the persistent pressure. 

    Elevation: Being mindful to elevate affected limbs when appropriate to prevent fluid build up and/or reduce oedema.

    Infection prevention: Maintaining routines such as hygiene and skin care helps to prevent the likelihood of infection such as cellulitis which can worsen lymphoedema and lead to further complications. 

    Manual lymph drainage: Physio therapists are trained in a massage technique to help move fluid trapped in swollen limbs up towards functional lymph vessels allowing the fluid to get reabsorbed by the body.  

    Diet: Maintaining general health through a balanced diet can contribute to the management plan and prevention of further injury. 

    Surgical: Surgery can be used in some cases to create new drainage pathways for fluid, removal of hard, fibrous tissue and lymph node transplants to attempt to increase lymphatic drainage in an area that is impaired.  


    What is a lymphedoema massage?

    Lymphatic drainage massage, or manual lymphatic drainage, alleviates swelling caused by a damaged lymphatic system. This technique involves gently moving lymph to working lymph vessels, reducing tissue swelling. 

    While generally safe for lymphoedema relief, it’s not advised if you have heart issues, kidney failure, blood clots, or infections. Consult your healthcare provider regarding potential impacts on your physical health.

    Here at Physio and Fitness Clinic, Temika Rae-Peters is our key Lymphoedema Therapist, assisted by Physiotherapist Morgan Deegan. We have access to best-level care through our sozo machine – which uses biospectrometry to assess even the smallest changes in your fluid levels, so we can best manage your condition.