NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital offers comprehensive assessments and therapeutic intervention by physical or occupational therapists for patients with Lymphedema. Lymphedema is the build-up of fluid, usually in the arms or legs, which causes swelling. It is a condition that develops slowly when lymph channels and ducts are damaged by surgery, cancer, radiation, trauma, poor circulation, or infection. It may also occur for no known reason. If the swelling is not treated, the build-up of fluid causes the skin and muscles to become thick and hard and can affect circulation, slow wound healing, or cause infection.
Our physical and occupational therapists are specially trained in the treatment of lymphedema. In addition, several of our therapists hold advanced certification from the Lymphology Association of North America (LANA). Types of treatments may include compression therapy, Manual Lymph Drainage, individually tailored exercise programs, and education regarding careful skin and nail care, self-bandaging techniques and the use of compression garments.
Patients who undergo breast surgery are often at risk for lymphedema due to lymph node resection. At NewYork-Presbyterian, patients are visited immediately after surgery in the acute care setting for education regarding lymphedema prevention, instruction in exercises to maintain normal movement and flexibility in the arm and to prevent stiffness, basic instruction in after surgery care, and to provide information on breast prostheses if applicable. In the rare instance that a patient develops post operative complications such as restriction of arm motion, stiffness, pain, or swelling, they may be seen in an outpatient therapy area for specialized treatment.
For more information about lymphedema, contact the National Lymphedema Network.