CaRe (Cancer-Related Lymphedema)

If you’ve had radiation treatment or a doctor had to remove one or more of your lymph nodes, you may experience something called lymphedema. Lymphedema is a build-up of lymph fluid in the fatty tissues just underneath your skin. Removing lymph nodes changes the flow of lymph fluid in the body. This makes it harder for fluid to flow out of the affected area. If the remaining lymph vessels cannot drain enough fluid from these areas, the excess fluid builds up and causes swelling, or lymphedema. While this condition may be uncomfortable, there is something you can do about it.

The CLT's at APTC are skilled in complete decongestive therapy the treatment of choice for lymphedema. At Advanced Physical Therapy Centers, our Certified Lymphedema Therapists use a four-pronged treatment approach to provide this non-invasive, painless and effective therapy.

  1. Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) - This is an essential component of the treatment. It involves gentle massage techniques to stimulate the movement of lymph to healthy lymphatic vessels.
  2. Compression Therapy This is a special wrapping technique used with low stretch bandages. It's used to prevent the refill of tissue spaces and to further stimulate drainage. It's also used between sessions to prevent the reaccumulation of fluid.
  3. Gentle Decompression Exercises This will aid the effect of joint and muscle pumping. It is an important component of long-term self management.
  4. Self-Care This component of treatment for lymphedema is especially important for the patient. Patients are taught how to avoid infections, and how to spot them when they occur. They will also learn how to maintain moisture in their skin.

APTC has found that this approach is effective in treating most patients with lymphedema. But, the APTC commitment doesn't end here. We make sure that all our lymphedma patients have the skills to keep their condition under control. We provide instructions on how to manage the condition after therapy and throughout the patient's life.

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