Treatment of Lymphedema
Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of protein-rich fluid that causes swollen ankles, swollen legs and even swelling in the arm, face, neck and torso. Normally, excess fluid is removed from tissues by lymph vessels, veins and the lymph nodes. When the lymphatic system is not functioning properly, fluid remains in tissues, resulting in lymphedema.
Lymphedema may be caused by a congenital malformation of the lymphatic system or when a normal lymph node or vessel is damaged after surgery, radiation, trauma or infection.
Decongestive therapy or complete decongestive physiotherapy (CDP) is the treatment of choice for lymphedema. It is non-invasive, cost effective and does not cause pain.
The four major components of decongestive therapy are:
- Manual lymphatic drainage—a special massage technique that opens collateral pathways and encourages lymph flow.
- Compression bandaging—softens tissue and prevents reaccumulation of fluid in the tissues.
- Specific remedial exercises—aids pumping of the functioning lymph vessels, improving lymph drainage.
- Skin care precautions—decreases the risk of bacterial and fungal growth that cause infection.
Intensive therapy is given daily for two-to-four weeks and followed by a home management program. This service requires a physician referral.
Lymphedema therapy is provided at the following locations:
Gwinnett Medical Center campus
500 Medical Center Boulevard, Suite 130
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046
For more information about lymphedema therapy, please call 678-312-2803.