Lymphedema Clinic

What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a type of swelling that can occur anywhere in your body. Common locations are arms, legs, breast, or chest due to the buildup of fluid in the tissues. The lymphatic system collects fluid from these tissues and carries it back to the blood stream. When this system gets backed up it creates swelling know as lymphedema. Lymphedema can happen anytime there is a blockage of the lymphatic system. This may happen as a result of an injury, surgery, radiation therapy, and/or infection. This type of swelling is considered "chronic" and requires lifetime maintenance.

Whether you have primary lymphedema or secondary lymphedema that developed from surgery, cancer treatment, or venous insufficiency, your lymphedema therapist will provide a individualized treatment program that is developed with your collaboration. The treatment program will take into consideration the contributing factors of your lymphedema, all other health conditions that may affect your lymphedema, and your current physical activity level.

What Is Lymphedema Therapy?

Lymphedema therapy is physical therapy that focuses on relieving swelling in the arms and legs by moving lymphatic fluid out of your limbs. Lymphedema therapy can also prevent additional swelling and help keep you comfortable.

At your first appointment, we’ll do a physical examination and talk with you about how you feel and your treatment goals.

Then, we’ll develop your personalized lymphedema treatment plan together. Your plan may include:

  • Compression garments to prevent lymphatic fluid from pooling in your arms and legs
  • Elevation of your affected limbs to help fluid move more freely
  • Massage treatments to improve the flow of lymphatic fluid, followed by compression bandaging to reduce swelling
  • Exercises to improve your physical fitness without straining the arm or leg that’s affected by lymphedema
  • Education about diet and skin care that can reduce the risk of swelling and infection
  • Self-care techniques that you can use at home

Your lymphedema therapist will monitor the size of your limbs throughout your treatment. These measurements help them understand how well your treatment is progressing and confirm that the swelling is going down.

Treatment for lymphedema usually involves appointments once or twice weekly for several weeks, with periodic follow-up as needed so you can get back to the things you love.

You will need a physician referral, then feel free to call 608-884-1390 to schedule your lymphedema clinic appointment at Edgerton Hospital.

Download a brochure here.