Lymphedema Management

Lymphedema Management

Sunnyview's lymphedema management program offers a comprehensive treatment of patients suffering from both primary and secondary lymphedema.

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema is swelling of a body part caused by the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the superficial tissue, mostly occurring in the arm(s) and/or leg(s) and occasionally in other parts of the body.

Lymphedema can be primary or secondary:

Primary lymphedema is due to a congenital malformation in which lymphatic vessels are impaired or missing.

Secondary lymphedema can occur after an infection, a traumatic injury, surgery, and cancer treatment (radiation and/or surgery).


Lymphedema can limit one's ability to perform self-care, home management, community activities and work. Research has shown the most effective treatment of lymphedema is a course of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) performed by a qualified therapist. CDT consists of five components including:

Manual lymph drainage (MLD) - a gentle therapeutic massage technique that stimulates existing lymph nodes and pathways to assist the body with draining excess fluid. This is a "hands on" manipulation of both the body tissue with lymphedema and the adjacent selected areas.

Compression bandaging and compression garments - bandaging of the affected limb follows each session of MLD. The bandages are worn continually to keep the limb from refilling with lymph fluid. This is done for a period of two to six weeks in preparation for fitting the limb with a compression garment.

Remedial exercises - an individualized exercise program is developed for each individual to be completed while wearing compression.

Skin care - meticulous skin care is essential for individuals with lymphedema. Each individual will be trained in skin care techniques to reduce the risk of infection.

Patient education - the most essential part of lymphedema treatment. Individuals are educated in all aspects of their lymphedema management program. This improves the individual's compliance with recommendations resulting in a better long term outcome.

For more information on lymphedema and its treatment, or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (518) 386-3595.


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