Lymphedema signs and symptoms

This is a result of the lymphatic system not working properly due chronic blood pooling in an area or a defect in the lymphatic system since birth that does not present itself until later in life. If lymph fluid builds up, it will cause swelling. Lymphedema usually occurs in an arm or leg but can also affect other parts of the body. Lymphedema is easier to manage if the condition is treated early. The main signs of lymphedema include swelling, heaviness of the affected area, or hardness of the affected limb (fibrosis). If untreated, lymphedema may progress causing changes in shape of the limb and create deep skin folds. Unmanaged lymphedema can lead to infections in the skin, open wounds or weeping in the swollen area.

Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT)

CDT consists of 4 components

  • Compression to the swollen area
  • Manual lymphatic drainage
  • Instruction in proper skin care
  • Decongestive exercises

Treatments available

  • Cold laser therapy to decrease fibrosis of an area
  • Complete Decongestive Therapy for lymphedema
  • Fitting with proper compression garments
  • Personalized instruction in exercise to assist with decongestion

Ribbons is the region’s only outpatient clinic that is devoted solely to cancer rehabilitation where a comfortable environment is provided so that patients can focus on healing without having to worry about his/her body image. With 3 Certified Lymphedema Therapists encompassing both physical and occupational therapy, your patients can be seen in a timely manner.

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