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Lymphedema Therapy Main Content

A Life Wellness Center care team member helps fit a female patient with a lymphedema sleeve.

Lymphedema is a build-up of fluid in the fatty tissues just under your skin that causes swelling. Many patients experience lymphedema as a result of treatment for other medical issues, such as cancer.

Baptist Rehabilitation offers evaluation and treatment of lymphedema patients by Certified Lymphedema Therapists (CLTs) to reduce and control the amount of swelling in the affected limb(s), restore function and improve quality of life.

What is involved in treatment?

After a comprehensive evaluation, our Occupational and Physical Therapists perform Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT). Non-invasive CDT offers an individualized plan of care incorporating:

  • Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) - gentle stretching technique that improves the function of the lymphatic system
  • Compression therapy (wrapping) – garments or bandages worn on the affected area to control swelling
  • Decongestive exercises – activity that helps to move fluid out of the affected area
  • Skin and nail care – helps provide moisture and prevent infection
  • Instruction on home care practices for continued maintenance

Why Choose Baptist Rehab?

Hands-on CDT is the gold standard treatment for lymphedema treatment/management and should only be administered by a CLT. Without treatment, lymphedema can continue to progress to different stages and with each stage come new and longer lasting challenges.

The key is to begin treatment as early as possible. However, according to the National Lymphedema Network (NLN), even patients with progressive lymphedema for 30 years or more before starting CDT have been shown to respond.

What conditions do we treat?

Patients with Primary Lymphedema (inherited disorder that leads to insufficiency of lymph vessels causing swelling in the extremities, typically the lower extremities). Common diagnoses associated with primary lymphedema are Milroy’s Disease and Meige’s Disease.

Patients with Secondary Lymphedema (caused by other conditions or surgical procedures leading to the development of lymphedema). The treatment of cancer, including surgery and radiation therapy, is the most common cause of secondary lymphedema.

Lower extremity lymphedema patients must have Ankle-Brachial Pressure Index (ABI) results within the last 3 months indicating they are safe for complete decongestive therapy prior to evaluations being scheduled. Talk to your referring doctor to determine if this test is needed for you.