Lymphedema involves fluid retention and swelling in the arms, legs and other parts of the body resulting from damaged or missing lymph nodes. Although lymphedema can occur anywhere in the body, it most often affects individuals who’ve been treated for breast cancer, prostate cancer and chronic venous insufficiency.

If you’ve been diagnosed with lymphedema, the condition must be managed for the rest of your life. The good news is that the swelling may be controlled effectively with treatment, and the certified lymphedema therapists at Parkland Medical Center can help.

Complete Care for Lymphedema

Parkland Rehabilitation Services offers complete decongestive therapy (CDT), involving manual lymph drainage (MLD) for lymphedema. This treatment requires the skills of a certified CDT/MLD therapist, who directs the lymphatic fluid to intact lymph nodes and helps reduce the swelling associated with lymphedema.

How You Benefit from Lymphedema Treatment

The benefits of lymphedema treatment with our certified lymphedema therapists include:

  • Improved function of the lymphatic system
  • Reduced risk of secondary complications and hospitalization
  • Decreased pain, discomfort, tingling or numbness
  • Decreased muscular and soft tissue tightness
  • Improved mobility and range of motion
  • Improved appearance of the affected areas
  • Better understanding of your condition and how to manage your symptoms

In general, the treatments can help improve your overall quality of life and your ability to participate in daily activities.

What to Expect from CDT & MLD

Complete decongestive therapy is a highly successful treatment for lymphedema. CDT consists of manual lymph drainage, compression therapy using multilayered bandages, remedial exercises and skin care.

At your first visit, the therapist will evaluate your condition and discuss your treatment goals. Your treatment may involve MLD, bandaging, education, intermittent pressure therapy, exercise and the measurement and fitting of a compression garment. You’ll be trained in compression bandaging, exercises and skin care. The goal of treatment is to help you become independent in managing your condition.

For postmastectomy patients, we recommend starting lymphedema therapy prior to surgery and three weeks after surgery.

Check our online Health Library for more information about lymphedema.