• Jeanine Mewburn

From the ALA Symposium 2021

I attended the Australasian Lymphology Association (ALA) Symposium at the Gold Coast last weekend and was again blown away by the caliber of the presenters and the current topics of discussion.

Lipoedema was a hot topic with presentations on diagnosis and management of the condition. Surgery was discussed as an option for lipoedema management by Associate Professor Ramin Shayan from Melbourne who presented us with incredible case study results. He concluded that surgery is only a small part of a patient’s journey with the six weeks preparation and the lifelong commitment to maintain the reduction. These elements are actually the main factors to success. Doctor Chris Lekich, also performing liposuction for lipoedema patients on the Gold Coast, has a different liposuction technique I believe, and this fact leads me to advise you to do your homework. You need to understand what is involved in the process and which technique is most suitable for you before embarking on this long journey.

In regards to the management of lipoedema post liposuction, the information received by presenter Helen Eason is empowering. It begins to define best practice in post-operative management for lipoedema surgery. Quality of life in the process is consistently flirting with these guidelines. You and your therapist experience in the field is eventually the ultimate arbitrary because the protocol of treatment, although it can be individualized, still is the Complex Lymphatic Therapy with its components such as lymphatic drainage massage, compression and exercise.

The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia updated their guidelines on exercise in cancer care. It came to the conclusion that two and half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week and two to three resistance exercise sessions at moderate-intensity is sufficient to obtain good health-related outcomes. This is not to take literally, as everyone’s baseline in fitness is different, the severity of treatment varies and so do side-effects. These guidelines define your aim in your journey to recovery.

Exhibitors also presented new or improved technological devices, new compression garment designs and new accessories to deal with difficult to manage areas of lymphoedema. Despite or because of the challenges of 2020, manufacturing companies have raised to the challenge of innovation. Jobst is presenting a new custom-made garment with a new technology to contour the limb without or less risk of tourniquet. Juzo presented a new accessory to assist with genital lymphoedema and their new box type measurement for large circumference dimensions. Sigvaris presented their new flat knit stocking with new measuring standards. These products are worth further discussion and I will do so in another blog, as there is to must to be said in a few lines.

Attending the symposium was a wonderful experience. I loved to catch up with friends and gather information from the experts. Nelson Mandela used to say that education is a weapon which can change the world. I certainly hope that with the latest findings, new evidence to support my practice and new ideas, I can continue to make a difference in the life of others.

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