Valley Health Rehabilitation offers lymphedema services by licensed physical
and occupational therapists with specialized training in cancer rehabilitation
and lymphedema treatment.
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of protein-rich fluid that occurs
in a body region. This accumulation may occur because of a primary problem
with the lymphatic system (hereditary) or a disruption in the lymphatic
system (secondary) due to injury of the lymphatic system. Frequently,
the swelling is seen in the arms or legs, but it can occur anywhere in
the body. Cancer is a primary cause; Surgery, chemo or radiation can damage
the lymphatic system.
Our therapists use complete decongestive therapy (CDT), which is considered
the gold standard for treating lymphedema. CDT includes:
- Manual Lymph drainage (MLD): massage technique to encourage lymph flow
to unaffected areas
- Compression: initially short stretch bandaging may be used for edema reduction,
with elastic garments used for long term management
- Exercise: muscle pumping exercises may be prescribed to enhance lymphatic flow
- Skin Care: education to decrease risk of infection
- Home Maintenance: critical to maintain edema reduction and risk of infection