Lymphedema management

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the interstitial tissue that causes swelling, most often in the arm(s) and/or leg(s), and occasionally in other parts of the body. Lymphedema can develop when lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired (primary), or when lymph vessels are damaged or lymph nodes removed (secondary).

Treatment

The Physical Therapy team has extensively trained and certified staff in the management of lymphedema. To help alleviate swelling and reduce discomfort caused by lymphatic obstructions, our physical therapist develops care plans for complete decongestive therapy (CPT) that includes:

  • Manual lymphatic drainage
  • Multi-layered bandaging
  • Compression therapy
  • Therapeutic exercises
  • Education to prevent complications and further occurrences
  • Skin care and hygiene recommendations

While a cure for lymphedema does not exist, proper care can improve the condition and dramatically affect a person’s quality of life. A referral from a physician is required to begin the evaluation and treatment process.