What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the interstitial tissue that causes swelling, most often in the arms and legs, and occasionally in other parts of the body. While the condition can be present at birth, lymphedema most often develops as a result of radiation, infection or trauma. In Western societies, one of the most common causes is the removal of the breast (mastectomy). This causes lymphedema of the arm in 10 to 15 percent of patients. Signs and symptoms of lymphedema include: a full sensation in the limbs, skin feeling tight, decreased flexibility in the hand, wrist or ankle, difficulty fitting into clothing in one specific area or ring/wristwatch/bracelet tightness. In addition to swelling, common complications include chronic wounds and ulcers and the breakdown of skin.
How is Lymphedema treated?
Treatment for lymphedema includes:
- Compression, usually with multilayered bandages
- Manual lymph drainage
- Range of motion exercise
Southeast Georgia Health System has two specially trained and certified lymphedema clinicians on staff and is the area's only provider of lymphedema treatment for patients who are uninsured or have Medicaid as their primary insurer. Thanks to a grant from the Susan G. Koman Foundation, Linda Huffmyer, DPT, and Julie Toler,
For more information, please call 912-466-5330.