Lymphedema is swelling generally in the arms or legs due to trauma or abnormalities of the lymphatic system. It's estimated that about one third of women who undergo axillary lymph node dissection during breast cancer treatment will develop lymphedema. Identifying and treating lymphedema early helps ensure better outcomes. Even treatment later on, during the chronic stages of the disease, can still be beneficial in improving function.

Our team can treat any upper extremity, lower extremity, abdominal, or head/neck swelling utilizing a combination of specialized massage, compression garments, and specialized pump systems. Patients are also educated on lymphedema precautions, signs/symptoms, and contraindications, as well as proper skin care, self manual lymphatic drainage techniques, and completion of decongestive lymphedema exercises.

Our lymphedema team utilizes a hands-on, specialized massage to facilitate movement of the lymphatic fluid out of the affected area. This massage consists of proximal clearing of both the superficial and deep lymphatic systems utilizing gentle, rhythmical movements from the distal to the proximal aspect of the extremity. We provide lymphedema compression garment fitting and education on skin care and home maintenance equipment which can prevent further exacerbation of symptoms and appropriate home management of lymphedema.

Goals of therapy are to reduce limb volume prior to fitting patient with a customized compression garment to assist in preventing further exacerbation of lymphedema.  

Lymphedema Treatment

Although lymphedema is not curable, research shows physical and occupational therapy can dramatically decrease the symptoms so you can return to enjoying your everyday activities.

Our specially trained therapists provide treatment plans which focus on improving the quality of your life. They will perform many special techniques aimed at improving your overall comfort. These techniques will include an individualized program focusing on:

  • Hands-on treatment
  • Custom garment measurement and fittings
  • Education in proper skin care and protection of the affected area
  • Independence in managing your condition
  • Exercise programs to help increase muscle strength