Lymphedema is a condition characterized by a buildup of protein-rich fluid in the tissues under the skin. Swelling can occur in a variety of areas: head & neck, trunk, arms, or legs. It develops when the lymphatic system is damaged or blocked. In the U.S., breast cancer surgery, especially when combined with radiation treatment and/or chemotherapy, is the most common cause of lymphedema. However, there are other causes of lymphedema, such as: other cancers, circulatory issues, surgery, congenital malformations, & other injuries that impact the lymphatic system.
The severity of lymphedema can vary from mild to severe, and can progress over time if left untreated. While there is no cure, effective treatment by a lymphedema-trained therapist can keep lymphedema under control and help reduce the likelihood of complications and improve quality of life. If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications, such as infections.
The Lymphedema Management Program helps patients prevent and/or control their lymphedema using Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT). CDT is currently considered the Gold Standard for lymphedema treatment. Treatment is individualized based on the severity and extent of the condition, but generally consists of: manual lymph drainage, compression bandaging, exercise, skin care, & fitting in compression garments. Skilled therapists emphasize self-care and education to help patients successfully manage lymphedema and lead normal, active lives.
For more information on our Lymphedema Management Program that is not cancer related, call us at 864-455-8788.