Lymphedema is a chronic and progressive disease that involves an abnormal accumulation of fluid and water in the interstitial space. Lymphedema may present with swelling in the extremities, trunk, abdomen, face and genital area.
Classification and Causes of Lymphedema
- Primary lymphedema is caused by a congenital malformation of the lymphatic system. It may be present at birth or develop later in life.
- Secondary lymphedema is more common and is usually the result of surgery or radiation therapy. Other causes include trauma or infection of the lymphatic system. Severe venous insufficiencies may also contribute to the onset of lymphedema.
What Treatment Methods are Utilized to Treat Lymphedema:
- Manual Lymph Drainage: Gentle rhythmic massage to promote the flow of lymph fluid.
- Compression Bandaging: Application of several layers of padding and short stretch bandages to control edema.
- Patient Education: Which includes instruction in self massage, bandaging, skin care, exercises and lymphedema precautions.
Patients will receive an evaluation and treatment plan geared toward their specific needs.
Who Will Be Treating Me?
The physical and occupational therapists
dedicated to this program are certified in lymphedema treatment. An interdisciplinary approach is used with ongoing communication between therapist, patient and physician. All sessions are conducted in private treatment rooms. The primary goals of therapy include: reduction of swelling, patient education, exercise and improved quality of life.
Further benefits may include reduction in pain and improved range of motion.
How Do I Get Referred?
Your physician can provide a prescription if lymphedema treatment is indicated.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Center for Rehabilitation Medicine at 202.364.7665.