Lymphedema is the accumulation of protein rich fluid in any part of the body, but most often occurring in the arms and legs.
It is most commonly caused in the United States when a lymph node is remove or damaged during a mastectomy.
There are four parts to lymphedema therapy.
The first is manual lymph drainage which consists of a very light, superficial massage focusing on rerouting the lymph fluid from the damaged lymph nodes to the healthy lymph nodes to allow absorption and appropriate processing of the fluid.
The second is application of short-stretch bandages that allow increased comfort in the limb when it is at rest and increased compression with muscle activation.
The third is skin care since edema results in a prolonged healing time and the area is at increased risk for skin infection.
The fourth is activity modification. Activities to avoid as well as beneficial exercises to perform are both discussed in detail.