Lymphedema Care

Lymphedema refers to swelling that can occur in any part of the body. While it typically affects just one arm or leg, sometimes both arms or both legs may be swollen. Lymphedema is caused by a blockage in your lymphatic system, an important part of your immune and circulatory systems. The blockage prevents lymph fluid from draining as needed, and as the fluid builds up, the swelling continues. Through a comprehensive treatment program, our team can help drastically reduce the pain caused by lymphedema. Treatment techniques can decrease the size of your affected body part so you can be more active and more comfortable. 


Symptoms of Lymphedema

  • Swelling of part of your arm or leg or your entire arm or leg, usually starting in your fingers or toes
  •  A feeling of heaviness or tightness in your arm or leg
  •  Restricted range of motion in your arm or leg
  • Aching or discomfort in your arm or leg
  • Recurring infections in your affected limb
  • Hardening and thickening of the skin on your arm or leg

Cancer and Lymphedema

Cancer treatment and the removal of lymph nodes is often a cause of Lymphedema and can occur shortly after surgery or take up to three years post-surgery. Radiation therapy is also a known cause, as is a blockage of the lymph nodes and or lymph vessels by the cancer. Lymphedema often occurs in breast cancer patients.


 


What Can You Do if You Already Have Lymphedema?

To help decrease the risk of further swelling, continue following the recommendations for preventing lymphedema listed above. In addition:

  • Avoid extreme temperature changes. Do not use hot tubs, whirlpools, saunas or steam baths. Use warm, rather than very hot, water when bathing or washing dishes.
  • Always wear sun protection (at least SPF 15) when going outdoors.
  • When traveling by air, ask your health care provider if you should wear a compression sleeve on your affected arm or a stocking on your affected leg to minimize swelling. For long flights, additional bandages may be needed. Talk to your health care provider before traveling.
  • Continue to see your health care provider for frequent follow-up visits, as recommended.
To learn even more about lymphedema, visit our health library by clicking here.

 

How Can We Help?

Can't find what you're looking for, or just need a little more information. We're happy to help. Select one of the options below and we'll get you what you're looking for.