Skip to main content

Lymphedema Therapy

Our skilled occupational therapists work with patients to manage and control lymphedema.

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema also is called lymphatic obstruction. Lymphedema most often causes swelling in the arms or legs,  but it can develop in any part of the body. It is caused by blocked or damaged lymph vessels or lymph nodes. Fluid builds up causing swelling.

What causes lymphedema?

Lymphedema can affect adults and children. A range of health problems can cause lymphedema, including injury, illness and infection. Lymphedema can occur after cancer surgery or radiation therapy.

Breast cancer patients may have lymphedema after surgery to remove all or part of their breast and underarm lymph nodes. People who have had surgery for uterine cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma and melanoma also are at risk of lymphedema.

Symptoms of lymphedema include:

  • Pressure or heaviness in the arm or leg

  • Clothing or shoes are tight-fitting

  • Swelling

  • Redness and inflammation

Lymphedema therapy

You will need a doctor’s referral for lymphedema therapy. Occupational therapists certified in lymphedema therapy can help to drain the tissue with fluid buildup. Therapists also may work with wound care specialists to promote wound healing.

Lymphedema therapy includes:

  • Manual lymph drainage

  • Wrapping and massage

  • Compression garments

  • Skin care education

  • Therapy exercises