Dr. Radha IyengarBreast Surgery

Treatment of Secondary Lymphedema

2 min read
Lymphedema is a chronic and often debilitating problem requiring treatment. 
While there is no cure for lymphedema there are treatments that are available.
If lymphedema is left untreated, swelling can worsen and there is an increased risk of infection and loss of functionality. 
Treatment typically involves referral to a lymphedema therapist. A lymphedema therapist is someone who is specialized in the treatment of lymphedema.
Typically, a lymphedema therapist will use manual drainage techniques as well as wrapping to help bring down the swelling in the arm. 
Once the swelling has been decreased as much as possible, patients are fitted for compression garments that will continue to keep the swelling down.
It is recommended that patients wear their compression garments for 23 out of the 24 hours in a day. 
Compression garments will become loose over time and should be changed when they are no longer compressing the tissue of the arm. 
Devices such as pumps to help improve fluid flow can be useful in certain circumstances. 
Furthermore a supervise resistance exercise program can prevent flareups and help improve lymphatic channels and drainage .
Because there are safety precautions for breast cancer survivors participating in an exercise program always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.