Mills-Peninsula's lymphedema therapy program, staffed by certified lymphedema therapists, offers a combination of lymphedema therapy and self-care education. It is the only program of its type on the Peninsula.
Lymphedema, swelling in the limbs or trunk, can develop for a variety of reasons, including cancer treatment, surgical interventions, vascular dysfunction and trauma.
We first provide hands-on therapy to reduce the size of the affected limb. Then our lymphedema therapists teach you how to manage the condition in the future. A consultation with a doctor can determine if lymphedema therapy is the appropriate therapeutic intervention for you.
Our therapists use Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy (CDP), a painless, noninvasive treatment that includes:
- Proper skin and nail care to reduce risk of infections
- Manual lymph drainage (MLD) — A gentle manual technique that routes lymph fluid away from the obstructed area toward adjacent functioning lymph nodes
- Specialized compression bandaging
- Remedial exercises or exercises that address related orthopedic dysfunctions and improve lymphatic flow
- Instruction in self-care techniques including self-manual lymph drainage and self-bandaging
- Compression garment fitting
The length of treatment depends upon which limb is involved and the severity of swelling.
Lymphedema often occurs in women with breast cancer who had part of their breast removed and lymph nodes removed from under their arms. Lymphedema may also occur in the legs after surgery for prostate cancer, lymphoma, uterine or ovarian cancer, and melanoma.
Although lymphedema cannot be cured, with the right care and treatment, it can be controlled so your limb is restored to a more normal size and shape. Left untreated, lymphedema can lead to increased swelling and a hardening of the tissue. It can also lead to chronic infections and other illnesses.
Success depends on your willingness to follow the prescribed treatments and your commitment to long-term self-management. We’re here to help you succeed.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Outpatient Rehabilitation at (650) 696-4315.