Skip to main content

Lymphedema

Lymphedema affects 3-4 million Americans. Lymphedema is a swelling of a body part, most often affecting the extremities. It may also occur in the face, the trunk, the abdomen or the genital area. Lymphedema is the result of an accumulation of protein-rich fluid in the subcutaneous tissues, which can have significant pathological and clinical consequences for the patient if left untreated. Once present, this chronic condition continues to progress unless treated.

Causes of lymphedema can be either primary or secondary. Primary lymphedema is caused by congenital malformations of the lymphatic system and may be present at birth or develop later in life. Primary forms generally affect the lower extremities but may also present in upper extremities. Secondary lymphedema is more common and often the result of surgery or radiation therapy for cancer. Surgical procedures in combination with the removal of lymph nodes, such as mastectomies or lumpectomies and/or radiation of axillary lymph nodes, are a very common reason for the onset of secondary lymphedema in the United States. Other causes include trauma or infection of the lymphatic system. Severe venous insufficiencies may also contribute to the onset of lymphedema (phlebolymphostatic edema) in the legs.

Causes of lymphedema can be either primary or secondary. Primary lymphedema is caused by congenital malformations of the lymphatic system and may be present at birth or develop later in life. Primary forms generally affect the lower extremities but may also present in upper extremities. Secondary lymphedema is more common and often the result of surgery or radiation therapy for cancer. Surgical procedures in combination with the removal of lymph nodes, such as mastectomies or lumpectomies and/or radiation of axillary lymph nodes, are a very common reason for the onset of secondary lymphedema in the United States. Other causes include trauma or infection of the lymphatic system. Severe venous insufficiencies may also contribute to the onset of lymphedema (phlebolymphostatic edema) in the legs.

Causes of lymphedema can be either primary or secondary. Primary lymphedema is caused by congenital malformations of the lymphatic system and may be present at birth or develop later in life. Primary forms generally affect the lower extremities but may also present in upper extremities. Secondary lymphedema is more common and often the result of surgery or radiation therapy for cancer. Surgical procedures in combination with the removal of lymph nodes, such as mastectomies or lumpectomies and/or radiation of axillary lymph nodes, are a very common reason for the onset of secondary lymphedema in the United States. Other causes include trauma or infection of the lymphatic system. Severe venous insufficiencies may also contribute to the onset of lymphedema (phlebolymphostatic edema) in the legs.

Phase One: Intensive Treatment Phase (2-5 days a week for 2-4 weeks)

  • Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)
  • Skin Care
  • Decongestive Exercise
  • Compression Bandaging

Phase Two: Self Management Phase

  • Self MLD
  • Compression Garments
  • Exercise
  • Skin Care

Complete Decongestive Therapy is reimbursable by all insurance companies including Medicare