Upper Extremity Lymphedema Care
Lymphedema is a medical condition that occurs when damage to the lymphatic system prevents fluid from draining and results in swelling or edema (often in the arm). While breast cancer is the leading cause of lymphedema in the United States, any damage to or removal of lymph nodes can cause symptoms or onset. Though rehabilitation is often proven effective even years after treatment or first occurrence of symptoms, early referral (as little as 2-3 weeks after surgery) helps us achieve the best results and can help teach you strategies to prevent advancement to more advanced and irreversible stages.
Caitlin Smith is an upper extremity lymphedema-certified occupational therapist and offers complete decongestive therapy, including:
● Manual lymph drainage: Specialized manual techniques to stimulate the lymphatic system and promote drainage.
● Compression therapy: Specific application of multi-layered compression bandages to prevent refilling of lymph fluid between treatments until swelling is adequately reduced to allow application of custom compression garments.
Working with an occupational therapist to manage lymphedema has advantages for those undergoing cancer treatment since treatments impact the patient’s life in ways that extend beyond tissue swelling. PhysioPartners’ integrated program focuses on teaching home management techniques, exercises and self-care strategies to minimize risks and empower you to effectively manage your condition.