The gold standard for lymphedema treatment is complete decongestive therapy provided by a specialty trained physical therapist. Lymphedema treatment includes manual lymphatic drainage, compression bandaging, specialized excercise, and skincare.
In the United States, lymphedema in the arm resulting from breast cancer treatment is the most common type. The most common type of secondary lymphedema in the world is caused by a parasite that is transmitted by mosquito bites in third world countries.
◊ Primary lymphedema is lymphatic compromise that is not directly related to another medical condition or insult to the system.
◊ Secondary lymphedema results from a medical procedure or outside damage sustained to the lymphatic system.
◊ Lipo-Lipedema is abnormal accumulation of fat cells just below the skin’s surface in the hips and legs. This typically results in a body style with wide hips and small waist with the hips remaining large (despite weight loss). These abnormal fat cells cause a compromise in the superficial lymphatic vessels and leads to lymphedema. Treatment for this condition is the same as for primary and secondary lymphedema.
◊ Increased limb size
◊ Abdominal swelling
◊ Pain in affected joints
◊ Tightness in skin
◊ Firming of skin (fibrotic tissue)
◊ Decreased range of motion in affected areas