What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a potential complication following axillary node dissection or radiation resulting in swelling of the arm or leg. Approximately 10-20 percent of breast cancer patients who undergo mastectomy and/or radiation will develop this chronic but treatable condition. It can also occur in patients who have undergone treatment for prostate, uterine, cervical or other cancers.Lymphedema may also be a primary diagnosis where congenital defects in the system occur. lymphedema may also be brought on by multiple traumas to limb, such as infection, surgical procedures or fractures.
What is the Goal of Lymphedema Treatment?
What is the Treatment for Lymphedema?
Depending on the extent of lymphedema, treatment may include some or all of the following:
For moderate to severe lymphedema, the best results are achieved with an aggressive treatment schedule (i.e.: 4-5 visits/week for 2-3 weeks, then 2 visits/week for 1-2 weeks).
The Department of Rehabilitation Services at Newton-Wellesley Hospital provides treatment by physical therapists certified in Lymphedema management. Treatment is covered by Medicare and all major insurers. A referral from a physician is necessary. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 617-243-6172.
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