What Is Lymphedema?

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What is lymphodema and how it is treated?

Julie Silver, MD
Lymphodema is a big issue for anyone at all who has had lymph nodes removed, and that could be from breast cancer treatment, it could be from cancer that might be in the groin for instance or near the groin, it can be from head and neck cancers and you can get lymphodema in the face, so there's a lot of times that the lymph fluid doesn't flow well when the lymph nodes are taken out and that fluid builds up and needs to be treated.

Julie Silver, MD (cont.)
If you have lymphodema you need to be seen by a professional and you need to start with a doctor and then you need to go to a therapist who is trained specifically in lymphodema treatment. It's treated usually with a combination of what we call manual lymph drainage, which is a very specialized kind of massage, hands-on treatment, and then that's usually combined with wrapping, if it's an extremity you can wrap the extremity a special way, and then sometimes there's garments that are used. The pumps and things like that usually don't work, although a lot of people invest a lot of money in them.