Lymphedema is a result of too much fluid accumulation in an area of the body. Most of the time, it is a result of damage to the lymphatic system that can happen with surgery, injury, radiation and chemotherapy treatment, obesity, and venous insufficiency. Sometimes, a person may be born with an undeveloped or underdeveloped lymphatic system. When this is the case, it is called primary lymphedema. Swelling develops when veins or lymphatic vessels are not functioning properly or are blocked and fluid cannot move through them. Lymphedema can affect any area of the body.
Signs & Symptoms of Lymphedema
- Heavy feeling of a limb
- Full feeling of a limb
- Changes in the texture of the skin
- Tight feeling skin
- Weeping of skin
- Difficulty fitting into clothing and/or shoes
- Repeated infections of a limb
- Fullness or thickness of skin of neck and/or face
Our lymphedema treatment program is provided by our OT staff and PT staff who are nationally certified lymphedema therapists (CLT). CLTs will provide education in signs and symptoms of lymphedema, changes in lymphatic system structures with cancer treatments, use of compression techniques for the affected area, and skin care. CLTs provide manual lymphatic drainage and skin care, along with specialized exercise programs to decrease swelling during treatment sessions.