Lymphedema Management Program
Lymphedema is caused when lymphatic fluid accumulates, which results in the swelling (edema) of arms or legs. Edema occurs when venous and/or lymphatic vessels restrict fluid flow. Lymphedema most often causes a feeling of heaviness, slight discomfort, cosmetic deformity and repeated episodes of infection, such as cellulitis.
If left untreated, lymphedema can lead to the hardening of underlying soft tissue (fibrosis) and overall bulkiness in the arms or legs. It can also reduce oxygen flow to tissue, which interferes with wound healing.
- Can occur without obvious cause
- Is known as lymphedema praecox in newborns
- Is known as lymphedema tarda after age 35
- May result from injury, scarring or excision of lymph nodes
- May result from radiation and/or surgery on the lymph nodes
- Can occur immediately after surgery or several years later
- May occur after traumatic injury to previously treated cancer patients
- Is sometimes found in breast, gynecological, testicular, bladder, colon, prostate or skin cancer survivors
- Decreased flexibility in affected extremities
- Clothing fits tightly on a particular extremity
- Persistent and sometimes painful swelling
- Heavy feeling
- Repeated infections, such as cellulitis
A treatment plan is developed for each patient based on individual needs and medical history. The most effective and least invasive approach is complete decongestive therapy (CDT), which is a combination of hygiene/topical skin care, manual lymphatic drainage, bandaging/compression and remedial exercises.
For additional information, please contact us at 912-819-6176.