When the lymphatic system is not functioning properly, protein-rich fluid gathers in the soft tissues causing swelling in various parts of the body. This can result from the system being overloaded, damaged, or defective. This condition can occur when the lymph system is disrupted by surgery, injury, or radiation therapy, or having scar tissue. Lymphedema can develop immediately after surgery or years later. It can be uncomfortable and may increase the risk for infection in the affected area and affect your overall quality of life.
Symptoms range from mild to severe and can include the following:
Lymphedema is effectively treated by qualified lymphedema therapists who develop a specialized treatment plan for you. Treatment may include:
If you experience difficulty applying a compression garment, a therapist can demonstrate and teach you how to use adaptive equipment.
If untreated, lymphedema may lead to:
Most of all, treatment may help you maintain your independence. Although it may never go away completely, there are ways to manage it, and our therapists will teach you how to manage your condition.