Cancer treatments, surgery and injury make it more likely for you to develop lymphedema. This chronic and progressive swelling condition is triggered by damage to your lymphatic system. That damage blocks or slows lymph flow and swelling is the result. Some people who’re born with a faulty lymphatic system also develop lymphedema.
Swelling can affect your legs, arms, torso, head/neck, or genital area depending on where the damage is. It shows up right away or takes months and even years to appear. In early stages, you may not even know you have it, as swelling’s occasional or gradual.
As it progresses, you’ll find your swelling is soft and indents or pits with thumb pressure, and that raising your arm or leg tends to reduce it for a time. Or you’ll notice swelling comes on during the day but’s gone next morning, only to return again. In later stages, the swelling stays and grows. You can stop swelling with MLD.
With treatment, lymphedema can be stopped and reversed in early stages. In later stages, your swelling can be stopped and controlled. We assess your stage and create a treatment plan in consultation with your doctor.
First swelling is stopped with lymphatic therapy. More advanced swelling responds very well to a combination of lymphatic massage and compression wrapping called CDT.
To keep swelling away day-to-day, a custom-fitted compression garment may be recommended. MLD therapy sessions once every 1 to 3 months let you stay on track.