physical therapist treating a patient who has lymphedema

Lymphedema most often develops in one arm or leg but may be present in both arms and both legs. It may also occur in the hands or feet, even in the chest, back, neck, face abdomen, and genitals.

Primary Lymphedema

Primary Lymphedema is caused by malformation of the lymphatic system. These malformations are most common in women. Symptoms may be present at birth or may develop later, often during puberty or pregnancy. Primary Lymphedema is most common in the legs, but may also occur in the arms or torso.

Secondary Lymphedema

Secondary Lymphedema is a result of damage to the lymphatic system. Surgical procedures such as mastectomies, lumpectomies with radiation and /or removal of lymph nodes are the most common causes. Secondary Lymphedema occurs most commonly in the arms, but may also develop in the legs.

Treatment

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)
Manual Lymph Drainage is necessary to manage the fluid volume of the affected extremity to normal or near-normal size. Bandages are used in phase 1 and compression garments in phase 2.
Graduated Compression Garments

Graduated compression garments are necessary to maintain the health of the limb and are designed to replace the bandages that were used earlier in treatment.

They are worn during the day while you are active. At night when you sleep, bandages or night garments are usually worn. The compression garments help to keep swelling down, improve circulation, and prevent the re-accumulation of lymph fluid in the area.

Skin Care
With lymphedema, the skin is usually dry and may crack easily, making it very susceptible to infection. A low-pH lotion, free of alcohol and fragrances should be used to maintain the moisture of the skin and to protect it. If the infection develops, consult your physician immediately.
Exercise
An effective decongestive exercise program aids that muscular system to move lymph fluid out of the affected area.

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905 - 571 - 1921 // info@mnphysiotherapy.ca
50 Richmond St. E, Suite 107 Oshawa, ON
L1G 7C7 Canada