The Bisgaard regimen, which is typically used to treat venous ulcers and not mastectomy edema, involves education, elevation, elastic compression and evaluation, explains Dr. Gordon Shumate. Some similarities between the Bisgaard regimen and mastectomy edema treatment include wearing a compression dressing and elevating the affected arm, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The extent and severity of mastectomy edema usually guides its treatment, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Doctors instruct patients to exercise to improve fluid drainage and maintain strength and flexibility, and a device called an arm pump is sometimes used to prevent lymphatic fluid from collecting in the arm. To prevent skin breakdown and infection, patients with edema following a mastectomy should adopt a good skin care regimen. Eating a well-balanced, low-sodium diet and maintaining a healthy weight is also recommended.
There are several ways to control or prevent lymphedema following a mastectomy, such as avoiding injections and blood draws in the affected arm, as Johns Hopkins Medicine explains. Patients with lymphedema should not wear clothing with elastic cuffs, carry heavy items with the affected arm, expose the affected arm to extreme hot or cold temperatures, or allow a sunburn to develop on the affected arm. Lymphedema may occur anywhere from a few days to 24 months or more following a mastectomy.