Southern Maine Health Care

Lymphedema Program

Lymphedema is defined as an accumulation of protein-rich fluid that results in chronic swelling in the body, most often the arms or legs, however can also occur in the face, neck, torso and genitals. SMHC’s lymphedema program is provided by occupational therapists certified in lymphedema management.

Our therapists work closely with SMHC’s breast care center providing education and treatment to individuals following cancer related interventions who are experiencing or who are at risk for developing lymphedema.  Our lymphedema therapists also collaborate with SMHC’s wound care clinic utilizing techniques for edema management to help promote more rapid wound healing. 

Individuals who are at risk for lymphedema are instructed to watch for:

  • Feeling of pressure, heaviness, tightness in arm or leg, which may be present before swelling, is visible.
  • Visible swelling, tight fitting clothing or footwear
  • Redness and inflammation

Treatment – Complete Decongestive Therapy consists of:

  • Manual lymphatic drainage massage
  • Compression bandaging
  • Hygiene and skin care
  • Exercise and nutritional support
  • Education for self-care and self-management
  • Wound care if indicated
  • Compression garments
  • Post op education if indicated

SMHC’s Lymphedema Program produces positive patient outcomes with successful reduction in edema, enhanced wound healing process, increased range of motion and improved overall functional status.

A physician’s referral is required for participation in this program. For more information, please call Rehabilitation Services at 207-294-8030.