Lymphedema is a condition where protein-rich fluid builds up in the patient's limbs due to faulty lymphatic drainage caused by surgery, cancer treatments or an inherent deficiency.
Complete decongestive therapy includes manual lymphatic drainage, compression therapy utilizing bandages and/or garments, and gentle exercises. Patients also receive extensive education about skin and nail care to prevent infections and minimize other complications and/or progression of lymphedema.
Candidates for therapy include patients who've experienced a mastectomy, post-traumatic swelling, other post-surgical swelling, amputations, sports injuries and other injury to the lymph nodes.
While there is no cure for lymphedema, therapy helps patients manage the disease in order to increase function, comfort and quality of life. If untreated, lymphedema can result in hardening and thickening of tissues.
A lymphedema support group is also available.