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Lymphedema Management

Valley Health Rehabilitation offers lymphedema services by licensed physical and occupational therapists with specialized training in cancer rehabilitation and lymphedema treatment.

What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of protein-rich fluid that occurs in a body region. This accumulation may occur because of a primary problem with the lymphatic system (hereditary) or a disruption in the lymphatic system (secondary) due to injury of the lymphatic system. Frequently, the swelling is seen in the arms or legs, but it can occur anywhere in the body. Cancer is a primary cause; Surgery, chemo or radiation can damage the lymphatic system.

Treating Lymphedema

Our therapists use complete decongestive therapy (CDT), which is considered the gold standard for treating lymphedema. CDT includes:

  • Manual Lymph drainage (MLD): massage technique to encourage lymph flow to unaffected areas
  • Compression: initially short stretch bandaging may be used for edema reduction, with elastic garments used for long term management
  • Exercise: muscle pumping exercises may be prescribed to enhance lymphatic flow
  • Skin Care: education to decrease risk of infection
  • Home Maintenance: critical to maintain edema reduction and risk of infection


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