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Good Samaritan Medical Center

Lymphedema Therapy

Get relief from the pain and swelling of lymphedema with the help of our specially trained therapists.

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema is the swelling of a body part, usually in your arm or leg. It is caused by a blockage in your lymphatic system, which prevents the proper drainage of lymphatic fluid resulting in edema (swelling) and discomfort.

How do you get lymphedema?

There are two types of lymphedema, primary and secondary. Primary lymphedema is caused by inherited conditions and often becomes more severe with age.Secondary lymphedema occurs when the lymphatic system is damaged. Surgical procedures such as mastectomies, lumpectomies with radiation and/or removal of lymph nodes are the most common causes. Other causes include obesity, traumatic injury, infection and severe chronic venous insufficiency.

What does the lymphatic system do?

Your lymphatic system plays a large role in immune function and circulation. It consists of lymph vessels located just under the skin, meeting up with lymph nodes located in your neck, armpits and groin. As the lymph vessels move fluid out of the tissues, waste products, bacteria, dead cells and large protein molecules are collected and transported back to the heart to rejoin circulation. When the lymph vessels are unable to transport lymph fluid back into circulation, the fluid accumulates, resulting in swelling and thickening of your skin.

Does lymphedema go away?

There is no cure for lymphedema and no absolute way to prevent it. Fortunately, there are treatments that are very effective in managing your lymphedema symptoms.

How is lymphedema treated?

We offer a range of treatments and therapies to manage lymphedema, including

  • Exercise
  • Specialized bandaging and wrapping technique
  • Self-massage
  • Lymph drainage with light massage

Because lymphedema is ongoing, the goal of treatment is to help you manage your condition at home. Learn more about preventing and managing lymphedema.

Are there additional risks with lymphedema?

Your arms and legs are very susceptible to infections if you have lymphedema. The stagnated fluid contains bacteria and viruses that can easily cause an infection. Call your doctor if you have signs of infection such as redness, skin temperature being warmer than usual, fever and increased swelling or pain.

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