What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema isswelling of a body part, most often an extremity, caused by accumulation of lymph fluid. Lymphedema most often causes a feling of heaviness, cosmetic deformity, slight discomfort and repeated episodes of infection known as cellulitis.
Two Types of Lymphedema:
Primary cases are congenital. They may be present at birth, at adolescence, or develop after age 35.
Secondary is caused by an injury, scarring, or excision of the lymph nodes. This usually occurs as a result of previous radiation and/or surgical removal of lymph nodes.
How is Lymphedema Treated?
The most widely accepted method of treatment for lymphedema is Complete Descongestive Therapy (CDT).
Components of CDT
Meticulous Skin and Nail Care:
Hygiene and topical skin care are done to reduce bacterial and fungal infections.
Manual Lymph Drainage:
This is a gentle massage that re-routes drainage of lymph.
Compression Bandaging and Garments:
Bandaging is performed in order to promote continued benefit of the massage and to work towards the reduction of swelling. The patient is then fitted with a compression garment such as a sleeve and or glove.
Prescribed exercises are to enhance the muscle joint pump and lymph flow.
Benefits of Treatment
- Reduces swelling to maximize funtional ability
- Return to work and leisure activities
- Decrease pain while increasing comfort
- Prevents infection and other complications
- Enhances self-esteem/body image
Who will be treating you?
Services provided by a Certified Physical Therapist. Each patient is provided with pain management, posture training, range of motion, strengthening, manual lymphatic drainage, scar mobilization, precautions, and compression therapy.
Spectrum Therapy Consultants has a Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Program for women who may suffer from Lymphedema.