Lymphedema is the swelling of a body part, as a result of the abnormal accumulation of protein rich edema fluid in the affected area, most often the extremities. It can also occur in the face, neck, abdomen or genitals.
Malfunction of Lymphatic System: The impaired function of lymph vessels interrupts the drainage of lymphatic system that is a part of the circulatory system just like the arterial and venous structures. Lymph vessels remove excess fluid from tissues and transport it back to the circulation. Lymph Node dissection can lead to abnormal accumulation of this protein rich fluid in the extremities.
Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema is detected in 7–77% of patients who undergo axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) due to transection of lymph vessels as depicted in selected studies (4). Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) significantly reduces this risk to 3–7%.
A recent meta-analysis reports the incidence of breast cancer–related lymphedema to range from 0 to 3% after lumpectomy alone to as high as 65% to 70% after modified radical mastectomy (removal of breast and axillary lymph nodes) with regional nodal radiation.
Our therapist Aradhana Sharma is a Certified Specialist in Manual Lymph Drainage and Complete Decongestive Therapy.
Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is the standard of care for the treatment of primary and secondary lymphedema. CDT is also extremely beneficial for managing post-traumatic and post-surgical edema and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
Compression therapy includes effective gradient compression with tubular bandaging on the affected limb . Short-stretch bandages provide low “resting pressure” when the patient is at rest and “working pressure” which allows muscle contractions to direct interstitial fluid flow. These bandages also reduce fibrosis in the skin.
Compression garments are different from compression bandages and are preferred in long-term treatment.
Your therapist will help and guide you with both the short stretch bandaging and selection of appropriate compression garments.