Lymphedema can develop anywhere in the body and is a lifetime diagnosis. Common locations are arms, torso, breast, and legs. Lymphedema occurs when the lymphatic system is compromised from either a congenital condition (from birth) or secondary reasons such as lymph node removal, chronic venous insufficiency (poor circulation), chronic heart failure, and obesity, to name a few.
The most common signs or symptoms are:
- Persistent swelling
- Sense of fullness or heaviness in the arm or torso
- Visible changes in the size or girth of the arm, leg or trunk
What are the treatment options for lymphedema?
Lymphedema is not difficult to treat, but it does require daily attention to exercise, self-massage techniques and garment use. Treatment has many aspects including:
- Reducing swelling (intensive phase)
- Preventing swelling from increasing again (maintenance phase)
- Patient education regarding skincare, anatomy of the lymphatic system, and risk reduction techniques.
Lymphedema Care at The Polyclinic
Our certified lymphedema therapists at the Polyclinic Physical Therapy and Hand Therapy Department will guide you through all the phases of treatment including intensive treatment, maintenance and preventative monitoring to ensure success with management of your lymphedema.
We will assist you with obtaining appropriate compression garments to help maintain the reduction. We will also discuss skin care and precautions to reduce risk of infection, flares of lymphedema and work to answer any questions or solve any problems as you progress to independent management of your lymphedema.
Please call 206-860-2210 to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists.