Lymphedema is a condition in which swelling (edema) occurs from abnormal accumulation of protein-rich lymph fluid in the space between cells in the body.
Swelling develops in one (or both) of your arms and legs when a blockage occurs in the lymphatic system that prevents fluid from draining well, which results in swelling. Though there is no cure for lymphedema, our UPMC rehabilitation specialists will work with you to treat and manage your lymphedema.
The most common cause of lymphedema is damage to or the removal of lymph nodes due to cancer. In addition to damage or removal, the causes of fluid buildup may include:
Symptoms of lymphedema often include tightness of clothing, rings, or watches and a feeling of fullness around your arms and legs.
There are various components to the treatment and management of lymphedema. Our highly trained therapists — many of whom are certified by the Lymphology Association of North America — are experts in the treatment of lymphedema, using the complete decongestive therapy method.
Complete decongestive therapy (CDT) for lymphedema is a comprehensive program that combines the following listed treatments for a holistic approach to treat lymphedema. Two phases of this treatment include an active phase to bring your lymphedema under control followed by a maintenance phase.
Lymphedema management typically includes
Read more about the experiences from patients who received lymphedema management services at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services.