What is lymphedema?
If lymph nodes or lymph vessels are removed or damaged, they can no longer carry lymphatic fluid properly. The fluid collects in the soft tissues of the body and causes swelling or lymphedema, primarily in the arms or in the legs.
What causes lymphedema?
The causes of lymphedema are many: surgery, radiation therapy, removal of or injury to the lymphatic system, trauma, or lymph system problems that exist at birth. Most often, it arises after surgery or radiation to treat breast cancer, prostate cancer, pelvic area cancers, lymphoma, or melanoma.
Lymphedema can develop at any time after surgery or radiation-immediately or weeks/months/years following treatment. It does not affect everyone who has had lymph node removal or radiation, and you can decrease your risk of developing lymphedema by following preventative techniques.
The physical therapy department at Provena St. Mary's Hospital provides a comprehensive approach to lymphedema management and treatment. Treatment consists of education, manual lymph massage, and compression bandaging.
Your next step
If you are at risk for lymphedema and would like to learn more information on steps you can take to prevent lymphedema or if you are currently managing lymphedema and require further treatment, please call (815) 937-8220 to make an appointment.
Provena St. Mary's Hospital Rehabilitation Services | 815.937.8220
500 West Court St, Kankakee, IL | 21 Heritage Drive, Bourbonnais, IL