Lymphedema Therapy

Professionally reviewed by Melissa Woodruff, PTA, CLT, CCI, lymphedema therapist, on 03/15/2023.

Lymphedema is a condition characterized by an accumulation of lymphatic fluid that causes swelling in the arms and legs, trunk, face, neck and even genital area. It can be present in one, two or all four limbs. Whenever lymph nodes have been removed, damaged or challenged by an infection, lymphedema can occur. Unfortunately, the cause of primary lymphedema is unknown, but with early detection, there are treatments available to help alleviate pain and discomfort. Secondary lymphedema can be the result of surgery, trauma or cancer or its treatments, such as mastectomy, surgeries or radiation therapy.

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network is highly skilled at treating lymphedema. Our customized therapy reduces swelling in your limb(s) and reduces the risk of infection and pain so you can participate in everyday activities with less difficulty.

Who Is At Risk?

Anyone who has had lymph nodes removed or has received radiation to their lymph nodes is at increased risk. Lymphedema can occur immediately following surgery, or weeks, months or years later.

What Are Signs and Symptoms of Lymphedema?

Contact your doctor or nurse if you develop any of these symptoms:

  • A feeling of increased heaviness or stiffness in your arm or leg
  • Difficulty fitting jewelry on the affected side
  • Clothing fitting tighter than usual on the involved limb(s)
  • Any increased swelling
  • Redness, warmth of your arm/hand, leg/foot
  • Numbness or tingling in your arm, leg, hand or foot

How Is Lymphedema Treated?

A certified lymphedema therapist, along with your physician, will determine if you are a candidate for complete decongestive therapy (CDT), the gold standard for lymphedema treatment, consisting of gentle massage, wrapping/bandaging, exercise and self-care.

The goal of CDT is to reduce swelling in the involved limb and to prevent and reduce the risk of infection and pain so that the patient can participate in everyday activities with less difficulty.

With early detection and treatment, most patients experience some degree of decreased swelling
and discomfort and improved appearance. Early treatment also may prevent life-threatening infections associated with lymphedema.

Lymphedema Therapy Locations

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network offers lymphedema therapy at a number of our outpatient locations. Find a location near you.

Request an Appointment

Request an appointment with one of our certified lymphedema therapists by calling 1.888.44.REHAB (73422) or by filling out the form below.

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