What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a protein-rich swelling that is caused by a disruption in the lymphatic system. This disruption prevents normal drainage in the lymphatic system, which can lead to fluid build-up and cause swelling.

A disruption in the lymphatic system can be caused by surgery, trauma, radiation (secondary Lymphedema), or you may be born with it (primary Lymphedema).

Common treatment options include:

While Lymphedema is not curable, we can control it. Treatment for Lymphedema consists of a four-part program of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT):

  1. Manual Lymphatic Drainage: This is a light touch massage-like skin technique that helps improve fluid movement in the lymphatic system
  2. Bandaging and Compression: This may include wrapping the swollen area, use of compression stockings/sleeve, or other compression garments to keep swelling from returning to the edematous area
  3. Exercise: An exercise program helps promote fluid movement
  4. Skin Care: Recommendations for proper skin and nail care